This is England

This is England

5.0 3
Director: Shane Meadows

Cast: Shane Meadows, Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley

     
 

British filmmaker Shane Meadows looks back at his own youth in this semi-autobiographical comedy drama that examines skinhead culture in the U.K. It's the summer of 1983, and Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) is a 12-year-old boy edging into adolescence without a father, his dad having lost his life the year beforeSee more details below

Overview

British filmmaker Shane Meadows looks back at his own youth in this semi-autobiographical comedy drama that examines skinhead culture in the U.K. It's the summer of 1983, and Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) is a 12-year-old boy edging into adolescence without a father, his dad having lost his life the year before in the Falkland Islands War. A gang of skinheads -- tough guys in their teens and early twenties who shave their heads, wear Ben Sherman polo shirts, and Dr. Martens boots, and listen to ska music -- walk the streets in Shaun's neighborhood, and one day they start picking on him. Shaun, however, shows he can give as good as he gets, and gang leader Woody (Joe Gilgun) takes a liking to the boy. Woody takes Shaun under his wing, and he starts hanging out with the skins, getting advice on dressing right from Woody's girlfriend, Lol (Vicky McClure), and learning about Jamaican music from West Indian skinhead Milky (Andrew Shim). However, the gang begins to change when Combo (Stephen Graham) is released from prison and returns to the neighborhood; like many skinheads, Combo has been recruited by the National Front, an openly racist right-wing political party, and soon the gang begins to fracture, with Combo taking one faction toward violence and petty crime against blacks, Indians, and Pakistanis, while Woody and his friends follow a more benign path. This Is England received its North American premiere at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Rising up through the ranks with such gritty indies films as Twentyfourseven, A Room for Romeo Brass, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands, and Dead Man's Shoes, English filmmaker Shane Meadows has proven himself one of the most unique voices in contemporary British cinema. While at their core Meadows' films are always deeply personal, they also have a remarkable way of tapping into the collective conscience. Culled from actual events that took place in Meadows' youth, This Is England maintains an intrinsically autobiographical tone while offering a vivid portrayal of Thatcher-era England. From the nostalgia-tinged opening images of Space Invaders, Simon Le Bon, Kit from Knight Rider, and the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di, there's no mistaking precisely when and where the action is taking place. Just as efficiently as he clues the viewer in to the setting, Meadows lets us know what kind of story we're in for as 12-year-old Shaun gets out of bed, casts a melancholic glance at a photograph of his father, who was recently killed in the Falklands War, and gets hauled into the principal's office for assaulting a smart-mouthed rude boy for making a tasteless joke about his dad. The day hasn't started out too well for young Shaun, but by the time it's over he'll have been accepted into the fold by a jovial gang of skins, and headed down a road of newly discovered self-confidence and personal exploration. While the former part of that journey rings remarkably true and sincere during the opening act, it's the latter part that proves somewhat less satisfying as politics and proselytizing careen the film uncomfortably into message movie territory. As a screenwriter, Meadows has a wonderful way of building relationships between characters and expressing the transformation of his protagonists. The scenes in which young Shaun cautiously lets down his guard as his mop is being buzzed and he proudly dons his first Ben Sherman work remarkably well, even when Meadows falls back on montage to keep the story moving along. Young actor Thomas Turgoose is endearingly naturalistic in his very first film role, and the scenes in which he endures the embarrassment of his mother scolding his new friends, charms an older Siouxsie and the Banshees fan, and confronts an intimidating and substantially larger racist skinhead prove him to be a pint-sized powerhouse with a promising future. With strong supporting turns by Joseph Gilgun as Shaun's substitute big brother Woody, Vicky McClure as Woody's Chelsea-coiffured girlfriend, Lol, and Stephen Graham's scalding performance as volatile, National Front recruiting ex-convict Combo, there's more than enough talent to keep the story afloat even as Shaun drifts away from Woody and the tone shifts from playful to portentous. While it's easy to see why Shaun would buy into Combo's poisonous agenda given the manner in which the impressionable young boy is manipulated by the charismatic racist skin, the levity that Woody and company provided is sorely missed once playful games of back-alley soccer give way to ransacking of foreign-owned stores and harassing of minority youths. Of course, if you're making a film set in Thatcher-era England and detailing the exploits of the skins and punks who began to become an increasingly prominent aspect of that society, it's essential to showcase music that accurately reflects their lifestyle. In compiling an impressively diverse soundtrack featuring Toots & the Maytals, the Specials, and the UK Subs among others, Meadows proves highly successful at capturing that unmistakable moment in time. Often singled out as a social realist filmmaker who is at his best when drawing upon personal experience, Meadows has admittedly culled much of This Is England from his own youthful experiences; the result is an engaging coming-of-age story that favors genuineness over mawkishness while always remaining true to character and form.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/13/2007
UPC:
0796019807623
Original Release:
2006
Rating:
NR
Source:
Ifc
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:43:00

Special Features

Deleted scenes; The making of This is England; An interview with writer/director Shane Meadows; Commentary by writer/director Shane Meadows, producer Mark Herbert and lead actor Thomas Turgoose; Skinhead culture: cropped, braced & booted, an essay by Darrell Buxton; "The Falklands: a Pathetic War," an essay by Darrell Buxton; Theatrical trailer

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Thomas Turgoose Shaun
Stephen Graham Combo
Jo Hartley Cynth
Andrew Shim Milky
Vicky McClure Lol
Joe Gilgun Woody
Rosamund Hanson Smell
Andrew Ellis Gadget
Perry Benson Meggy
George Newton Banjo
Frank Harper Lenny
Jack O'Connell Pukey Nicholls
Kriss Dosanjh Mr. Sandhu
Kieran Hardcastle Kes
Chanel Cresswell Kelly
Danielle Watson Trev
Sophie Ellerby Pob
Hannah Walters Shoe Shop Assistant
Michael Socha Bully
Dave Laws Mr. Dudley
Aisling Loftus Abigail Pollock
Joe Sentence Adam Waghorn
Shane Meadows Chip Shop Owner
Pamela Cundell Gadget's Nan
Elliot Brown-Walters Poor Mate 1
Ian Smith Teacher
Seamus O'Neill DJ Dave D
Dave Blant Teacher 1
Ladene Hall Miss Shaw
Harold Gould Mr. Thacker
Betty Gould Mrs. Thacker
Stuart Wolfenden Jaybo
Georgia Groome Abigail's Friend
Gabriel Jennings Adam's Friend
Matthew Blamires Teasing Kid
James Burrows Teasing Kid
Harpal Hayer Football Kid
Terry Haywood Football Kid
Nimesh Jami Football Kid

Technical Credits
Shane Meadows Director,Screenwriter
Tony Aherne Asst. Director
John Boughtwood Musical Direction/Supervision
Peter Carlton Executive Producer
Will Clarke Executive Producer
Danny Cohen Cinematographer
Caroline Grebbell Art Director
Griffin Asst. Director
Matthew Hall Sound/Sound Designer
Des Hamilton Casting
Ben Harvey Sound/Sound Designer
Hugo Heppell Executive Producer
Mark Herbert Producer
Mark Leese Production Designer
Ludovico Einaudi Score Composer
Donald McInnes Makeup
Louise Meadows Casting,Co-producer
Zac Nicholson Camera Operator
Kate Ogborn Executive Producer
Tessa Ross Executive Producer
Nina Sagemoen Production Manager
Dave Sansom Sound/Sound Designer
Nickie Sault Asst. Director
Catherine Scoble Makeup
Jo Thompson Costumes/Costume Designer
Paul Trijbits Executive Producer
Chris Wyatt Editor

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- This is England
2. Opening [3:51]
3. Picked On [12:19]
4. A Good Time [5:35]
5. One of the Gang [9:17]
6. Combo [8:43]
7. This is England [11:20]
8. The Promise [2:06]
9. A Grand Ole Word [8:03]
10. With Pride [6:14]
11. Happy Birthday Smell [5:34]
12. Thinking of You [4:31]
13. No Problem [3:14]
14. What's With the Questions? [3:46]
15. Are You Okay? [7:16]
16. End Credits [6:25]

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