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This Is England
This Is England (DVD)
Author Name: daisylee3
This Is England (DVD)
Advantages: Brill soundtrack, believable & interesting storyline
Disadvantages: Acting is a bit rubbish at points!
This Is England is a film that follows a young boy as he becomes part of a violent and racist gang. The main character, Sean, played by Thomas Turgoose starts out as a child greaving for his father, but by the end of the film he is no longer the once innocent kid he was at the start of the film. The only reason that I watched this film is because I know the actor who plays the main character in real life, which I suppose did impact on how much I enjoyed the film and it definetly altered my opinion on the acting, because if i'm honest, Tom really is a mouthy little so and so in real life so I found it quite hilarious to watch him going around mouthing off because it didn't seem like he was acting at all!
On the back of my copy of the DVD it sums the film up perfectly -
This Is England tells the story of Sean, an 11 year old kid growing up in the north of England. Set during the summer holidays of 1983, it follows his journey from a shaggy haired ruffian grieving the loss of his father into a shaven headed thug whose anger and pain are embraced by the local skinhead praternity.
The film is set in a small town (which is not named), shortly after the Falklands War. The film moves at a quick pace, we are introduced to our main character, 11 year old Sean and get a feel for his personality and home life straight away, and see that he is a very emotionally damaged child due to losing his much loved father during the war. He is clearly quite a naive and vulnerable child and I found it interesting to see his decent into a violent, racist, drink, drugs and sex lifestyle. The film starts with Sean getting into a fight (more than likely his first ever fight) at school after a boy (Michael Socha) who is clearly alot older than him makes a comment about his dad dieing in the war, which provokes Sean into attacking him. The fight is quickly split up by a teacher who gives each boy a whack around the ear'ole which I liked as I doubt you will find many films with a teacher hitting a pupil nowadays. On Sean's way home, he is spotted by a skinhead gang whos' leader, Woody, takes pity on him due to seeing that he is clearly upset.
Before long, Sean is part of the gang. He inherits a skinhead, tattoo representing his new found racist views, and various new, violent friends which he sees as being brilliant - the once bullied, vulnerable child is now part of a well known gang with a leader so vicious that even grown men (including Woody) fear him. The ultimate leader of the gang is Combo, a man who is much older than the others who has a reputation for racism, fighting and generally being a horrible person with disgusting views on people who are anything other than English. Combo is by far my favourite character. He is played by Stephen Graham, an amazing actor who outshines the other actors by far.
Sean's new found popularity doesn't last for long though and the gang soon comes across a few hurdles with a majority of the members now doubting if they really want to be part of such a brutal and strong minded organisation. Jack O'connell makes a brief appearence in the film playing a guy called Pukey, who is covered in tattoos, wears dr martens and is clearly a skinhead. Pukey dares challenge Combo and we get a taste of what is in store for anyone who dares question him. Other characters include a loveable, chubby character called Milky who is the only coloured member of the gang, a wise beyond her years Lol, who is Woody's girlfriend, and various others who all have their own little personalities which ultimately clash.
The film as I said above does move at a reasonably quick pace, the acting isn't awful but it's far from brilliant, at times the characters deliver their lines in an odd tone of voice which sounds very unnatural and a bit too try-hard, and if i'm honest I was slightly cringing at points! The actor who plays Combo is flawless though and if it wasn't for him my overall opinion of the film would be much less than great. The soundtrack is amazing and without it, the film wouldn't be anywhere near as good as it is. The story is believeable as there is not over the top violence or storylines, everything that happens is believable which makes it that bit more shocking. I am sure a lot of people will not want to watch this due to the racist language used and the whole BNP kind of storyline however I do think it is quite interesting to hear people's different views and I do hugely disagree with their whole attitude towards on british people but I found it very intriguing to see the length that some people go to etc.
Despite the somewhat disturbing contents of the film, there is bits of humour too, albeit dark at times. Woody is by far the most hilarious character ever, he's a real softy at heart and really takes Sean under his wing - he is like a father figure to him.. until Combo comes along.
I loved the whole costume side of things, with dr martens, acid wash jeans, braces, and gangster type top hats. The scenery during the film is gorgeous too and it's shot almost like a piece of artwork. I didn't really like this film when it first came out, however since watching the follow-up tv series it has really grown on me. The film is an eighteen due to the language used and the violent/sexual scenes. My copy of the DVD has got various extras including:
- Commentary with Shane Meadows (the director), Mark Herbert (the producer) and Thomas Turgoose (the actor who plays Sean).
- Behind The Scenes
- Auditions and Rehersals
- Deleted Scenes
- Interviews with Mark and Shane
- Hair, make-up and design departments
- Essays and biographies
Overall, this is a decent film and although the acting and script isn't marvellous, the use of music and scenery really brings the film to life and the film is believable rather than being far fetched and ridiculously action filled. It is well worth a watch, and I give it 3/5 stars.
The film can be bought from a variety of websites, supermarkets, music/film shops etc. I bought my copy from eBay for 99p.
Summary: Worth a watch