movie film review | chris tookey

This Is England

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  This Is England Review
Tookey's Rating
4 /10
Average Rating
7.86 /10
Chanel Cresswell, Vicky McClure, Daneille Watson
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Directed by: Shane Meadows
Written by: Shane Meadows

Released: 2006
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: UK
Colour: C
Length: 98

No it isnít.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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This is England is recognisably in the tradition of Ken Loach and Alan Clarke, and offers us an all too familiar view of 1983 England as an industrial wasteland populated by yobs and polluted by National Front-encouraged racial hatred.

It starts off promisingly as a rites-of-passage story, with 12 year-old misfit Shaun (Thomas Turgoose, pictured centre), whose soldier father was recently killed in the Falklands, being bullied at school for his hairstyle and flares (ďI didnít know Keith Chegwin had a son!Ē).

Shaun gets himself shorn, booted and recruited into a gang of mostly amiable skinheads; but then the filmís focus on the boy gets blurred and lost.

The strong point throughout is the realism of the acting. Stephen Graham displays a frightening intensity as Combo, who becomes a dangerously unstable father-figure to Shaun; but Meadowsís screenplay is never up to the task of deconstructing skinhead culture or analysing the causes of British racism.

The film descends into a risibly belated example of Thatcher-bashing, as Mr Meadows strives to draw a glib and spurious parallel between the rise of the National Front and the then Prime Ministerís reconquest of the Falklands.

Hardly a Shane Meadows film comes out with someone hailing it as a masterpiece by one of Britainís finest directors, but the poor plotting, sledgehammer symbolism and sheer ugliness of his work continue to leave me less than impressed.

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