Reality is the playground of the unimaginative
Home Of Superheroes, the Supernatural, Swords, Sorcery, and Star Stuff

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

DVD Of The Week: This Is England (2006)


In my usual haphazard way I only 'discovered' Shane Meadows' multi-part magnum opus, This Is England, with the current (and final) mini-series that is airing on Channel 4, This Is England '90.

Having been so impressed with what we have seen (the feature-length, conclusion to the entire saga airs this Sunday), Rachel and I realised we really needed to see the earlier parts of the tale, to get a better handle on the characters and their arcs.

Last night, we cued up the film that kicked off the saga, Shane Meadows' semi-autobiographical 2006 drama, This Is England.


Set in a rundown Northern seaside town, at the same time as the Falklands War, this is the story of 12-year-old Shaun (Thomas Turgoose), who has just lost his father in the war.

Bullied at school, he is adopted by a local group of skinheads, fronted by good-natured Woody (Misfits' Joe Gilgun), becomes part of their gang and starts romancing a girl called Smell (Rosamund Hanson).

All seems to be going well until an old friend of Woody's - Combo (Stephen Graham aka Al Capone from Boardwalk Empire) - turns up. Combo has just been released from prison, along with his White Supremacist pal Banjo (George Newton), and drives a wedge into the gang with his racist and nationalist diatribe.

Swayed by Combo's charisma and his appeal to Shaun's memories of his father, Shaun sides with Combo and is gradually transformed from a carefree young kid to a little thug... until he gets to witness the violent reality of Combo's world for himself.

This is a movie about friendship and the power of belonging, as well as about a character using a distiorted belief system as an excuse to satisfy his own needs, such as raiding a newsagents to steal drink and cigarettes for his crew, or beating up a supposed friend because his heart has been broken by the woman he professes to love.

While the film boasts an extended ensemble cast, This Is England is Shaun's story through-and-through. This leaves a lot of the other characters with unresolved plot threads, which is why the film needs to be seen as the first episode of a larger story.

In the hands of a less committed creator, this deceptively untraditional narrative approach could have dissolved into a mess, but time and again in the film's 100-minute running time Meadows demonstrates an incredibly subtle mastery of the art of storytelling.

For the most part, while gritty and in-your-face, this is a positive story about growing up at a specific time in British history.

Although This Is England builds to a brutal climax, it presents a very different view of skinhead life than seen in such films as American History X or Romper Stomper, as it addresses the issue of what went in to creating this sub-culture.

Following on from the events of the movie, Shane Meadows and his incredible cast created a trilogy of television mini-series, This Is England '86, This Is England '88 and This Is England '90, charting the ups and downs of the characters' lives as they get older and adapt to changing political and social circumstances.

Very much not my usual cup of tea, Meadows manages to draw such compelling performances from his actors, most of whom had little or no experience when he began this tale, that gives its a very naturalistic feel.

Joe Gilgun, for instance, is now one of my favourite actors since I first saw him in Misfits. He has such a gift for timing, both dramatic and comedic, that his character's quips and one-liners feel like they're improvised as the camera rolls, gleefully reacting to unexpected developments. I can't wait to see him as the mouthy vampire Cassidy in next year's Preacher.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tags

10th Doctor (190) 11th Doctor (212) 12 monkeys (3) 12th Doctor (76) 13th doctor (4) 1st Doctor (77) 2000AD (58) 2nd Doctor (61) 3rd Doctor (65) 4e (44) 4th Doctor (99) 50th birthday (10) 5e (27) 5th Doctor (60) 6th Doctor (53) 7th Doctor (64) 7th Voyage (5) 7TV (21) 8th Doctor (41) 9th Doctor (50) A41 (15) Aaron Allston (11) abney park (18) academy of heroes (10) Acrobatic Flea (46) action figure archive (10) action figures (130) Adam Buxton (9) Adam West (21) addams family (21) adventure time (13) agent 47 (4) Agent Carter (65) AHS (12) airship 27 (1) alcatraz (4) alec (48) alice (102) all out war (1) almost human (5) alphas (18) amazon streaming (28) American Gods (3) Amy Dallen (22) Ancient Aliens (27) anime (56) anniversary hop (35) ant (1) ant-man (46) Anya Taylor-Joy (4) Apama (4) aquaman (39) arduin (45) arrival (2) arrow (156) arrowstorm (38) artist appreciation (69) ask heropress (1) assassin's creed (1) AT-43 (21) atlantis (22) atticus institute (1) audio (227) auton (9) Avengers (259) Aviator (12) Axanar (8) Babylon 5 (21) babymetal (16) baking (8) band maid (4) banshee (14) Barack Obama (16) barney (39) bates motel (14) batgirl (13) bathroom watch (8) batman (439) Battlefield Evolution (8) Battlestar Galactica (82) Beacon Point (5) bedlam (7) beowulf (6) bettany (11) big hero 6 (6) biggles (1) Bill Willingham (11) birthday (56) black guardian (3) black hood (3) black lightning (5) black panther (21) black sails (33) blackest night (28) Blackmoor (17) blade runner (23) Blair Witch (25) Blake's 7 (21) blood drive (7) Bloodshot (5) BMG (9) boardgame (66) BoL (5) book (842) book of the month (61) borgias (7) boston legal (5) bottom of the pile (24) bournemouth (29) brave (8) breaking bad (9) bright (1) brothers barbarian (1) BtM (25) BTTF (5) BtW (13) Buck Rogers (17) buffy (213) buffy campaign notes (4) Bukowski (9) Bushido RPG (4) C and C (78) c and t (93) Caity Lotz (4) Call Of Cthulhu (113) calvin and hobbes (11) Caper (10) Captain America (284) captain britain (20) captain marvel (5) cara (2) carcosa (9) card game (20) carnacki (1) carnevale (1) Carnivàle (1) Caroline Munro (12) castle (15) cataracts (5) cathryn (4) cats (5) charity (2) Charlie's Angels (9) charmed (28) chin scratcher (27) China (87) chitty (1) Chris Hadfield (9) christmas (282) christmas village (2) Cidri (130) clangers (1) clare (225) Class (1) cloak and dagger (2) clone wars (48) clovenstone (16) cloverfield (9) clown (22) cody deal (3) CoE (12) Coggershall (15) colin (3) colliders (3) colour out of space (9) comics (2014) community table (13) competition (48) computer (81) Conan (125) constantine (49) cool website (3493) copper (4) Cortex (10) cosplay (455) cosplay goddess (9) creepypasta (8) Crime Nation (1) crimson peak (6) critical role (3) crossbones (1) Cyberman (57) D and D (779) da vinci (24) dad's army (3) dalek (157) damage control (1) damien (4) Dan Abnett (10) dan dare (5) daredevil (117) dark matter (2) dark tower (11) Darkseid (17) darna (1) David Bowie (19) DC Fancast (4) DCC (3) de strange (1) deadlands (14) deadpool (25) Deathstalker (17) Deathstalker Week (6) decorating (83) defenders (28) defiance (20) dejah thoris (8) demons (12) desolation (2) devo (2) Dexter (19) Dick Garrison (7) Dickensian (15) dilbert (3) dining room watch (5) dinosaur (79) disney (147) doc savage (27) doctor steel (1) Doctor Who Skirmish (3) dollhouse (17) dolls house (29) dominion (3) doom patrol (13) Dorian Gray (14) Dr Horrible (19) Dr Strange (78) Dr Who (1116) DR WHO RPG (145) draconians (8) Dracula (55) dragon age (8) dragon warriors (2) dragonlance (14) Dresden Files (58) dune (2) dungeon bastard (67) dvd (1167) dvd of the week (384) e-space (4) EAP (5) eBay (141) Egypt (38) Elementals (6) elm street (40) Elric (38) Elvis (8) enormous (2) episode VII (58) episode VIII (5) equipment (2) ercia (3) erica (44) Erik Menard (9) eureka (7) eurovision (13) Evil Dead (45) EWDG (2) exorcist (28) Facebook (315) faction paradox (13) faith (7) FAL (1) falling skies (1) Fantastic Four (193) Fantazia (6) farscape (5) FCBD (28) FDTD (11) felicia day (21) FEMM (9) FFL (1) fiction (4) film (3447) film night (33) Firefly (74) firestorm (34) flash (288) Flash Gordon (39) flashback (854) fleamarket friday (594) fleapit (77) Flintloque (6) fmj (10) FoG (14) Formula De (26) foxy friday (5) France (33) Frankenstein (35) fringe (47) fu manchu (1) funky dice (18) funny (1190) GAFDOZ (37) GAH (1) gal gadot (21) galavant (1) game of thrones (320) gamesroom (124) garden watch (33) geek god (5) geek pin-up (140) Gen Con (47) generator (12) GFT (16) ghost (192) ghost in the shell (8) Ghost Rider (8) ghostbusters (67) Gillian Hills (3) glee (36) godzilla (20) googleplus (51) Gor (8) Gotham (58) Grant Morrison (45) green hornet (4) Green Inferno (17) green lantern (148) greywulf (9) grimm (19) grindhouse (10) growler (1) Guardians (156) Guardians RPG (9) gublin (18) guest post (13) gunther (2) hack slash (23) Hackmaster (31) halloween (161) hammer glamour week (8) hangman (1) Hannah Spearritt (7) hannibal (42) Harley Quinn (47) Harry Potter (53) harryhausen (48) Hattie Watson (7) Haunted Mansion (2) Hawk The Slayer (67) Hawkeye (47) Hawkgirl (15) hawkman (23) health (218) helix (8) hellboy (1) Hercules (28) hero kids (17) HeroClix (20) Heroes (62) HeroPress (680) Hertsmonceux Castle (9) Hever (13) HEX (115) HEX campaign notes (6) hey kids (4) HHGTTG (37) HIMYM (20) HMP (5) hobomancer (1) holiday (30) Hollyoaks (15) hollywood me (3) hook (3) hornets' nest (5) horror (1290) houdini & doyle (1) houserules (57) HOW (177) HOW spell (6) HOW treasure (4) howard the duck (12) hrumph (2) hulk (115) hunger games (12) Hunter S Thompson (6) ice warriors (12) ICONS (77) ID4 (15) IHMN (2) illuminati (4) ilyat (2) Immortal Iron Fist (41) immortals (1) indiana jones (68) infographic (21) ingrid pitt week (7) inhumans (56) InspiroBot (3) interview (41) into the odd (5) IRBKM (74) iron man (209) Ironclad (7) irrepressible (1) iTunes (40) izombie (9) Jack Herman (58) james bond (80) James Purefoy (8) Jane Seymour (5) Japan (163) Jason Statham (4) Jason Voorhees (23) jason xmas (11) Jeff Dee (79) jekyll and hyde (12) jeni (10) jericho (1) Jessica Alba (4) jessica jones (55) JLC (25) jody mills (8) joe gilgun (5) John Carrigan (5) john carter (56) john carter RPG (5) John Wick (3) Josh Trank (10) Josie and The Pussycats (4) Joss Whedon (67) JSA (9) Judge Dredd (57) Judges Guild (9) judoon (21) jumanji (3) jungle book (2) Jupiter Ascending (6) jupiter's moon (1) justice league (118) K9 (73) Kai (8) Karen Gillan (48) keira knightley (22) Ken Hulsey (9) kevin (113) Kevin Bacon (15) key to time (7) KFC (5) Kickstarter (367) killjoys (2) king kong (14) kitchen watch (17) Klingon (16) Knight City (112) knightfall (1) Knightmare (7) knights of badassdom (6) kom (11) KOTDT (56) Krampus (6) Kree (12) krod mandoon (6) krypton (3) labyrinth lord (51) Lady GaGa (7) larp (34) Lauren Cohan (4) Legends of Tomorrow (40) legion (2) LEGO (21) leverage (17) Life on Mars (13) light city (8) limitless (6) LoA (37) lodoss (9) Lois Lane (30) Lost (103) LotFP (31) LOTR (168) LoTS (23) lou (5) lounge watch (11) love and rockets (2) Lovecraft (300) LSH (57) lucy (5) luke cage (62) Lulu (41) mack bolan (6) mad max (26) Maelstrom (3) magazine (250) Maleficent (13) man in the high castle (1) mapamonday (103) Marama Corlett (8) Mars (116) Mars Attacks (15) Mars McCoy (1) marvel rpg (5) mary poppins (1) Matrix (25) matt (19) max neptune (12) megan fox (24) melin (1) meredith (95) merlin (193) Merlins Miscellany (15) MG (3) midale (12) mike the knight (1) Military Odyssey (8) mindprobe (9) miracleman (3) Misfits (26) miss peregrine (2) misty (1) MLP (2) mob city (1) Moby Dick (6) MoC (11) model train (28) model village (1) mojo (2) monkey (123) monster (619) monster mash (40) monty python (43) moorcock (38) morgan (1) Most Wanted (2) mr robot (3) ms marvel (6) MSP (13) MtG (2) mummy (31) muppets (43) murdoch (8) murmurs (1) music (534) musical monday (247) musketeers (4) mutant future (6) Mutants and Masterminds (41) MV (7) My Chemical Romance (7) my first (8) my life and roleplaying (34) Mythica (38) narnia (11) nashville (12) natalie dormer (11) natalie portman (18) Necronomicon (21) nemesis (1) nemo (5) nerf (1) netflix (159) new spell (12) nick g (22) nick l (244) Night Blogger (7) nightwing (9) Ninjak (5) NOF (7) nosferatu (3) NPH (10) Oats Studio (5) Oculus (6) odd thomas (2) officer downe (1) Olivia Cooke (10) Olympics (21) olympus (3) Once Upon A Time (20) one ring rpg (10) opinion poll (47) orange is the new black (9) Orin Rakatha (4) orphans (1) orville (2) ouija (9) outcast (2) outcasts (16) OVC (19) oz (22) ozombie (7) pacific rim (21) paranoia rpg (1) parks and recreation (14) Pathfinder (23) Patreon (19) paul (109) pembury (17) Pendragon RPG (11) penny dreadful (28) peri (21) period slang (6) pete (280) Philip Reeve (110) philosophy (42) pick of the pods (27) picture parade (90) pirates (109) Playboy (32) PMF (4) podcast (179) poldark (6) polly (5) Poltergeist (7) PotA (68) power rangers (3) powerless (4) preacher (13) Pride and Prejudice (23) Primeval (45) primeval RPG (20) Prince Valiant (14) Prisoner (4) prometheus (9) Pulp (224) Punisher (56) pushing daisies (2) PVF (10) QB (9) quantum and woody (1) quatermass (23) Quentin Tarantino (28) rachel (734) railhead (7) reading list (15) real life (2332) rebels (46) Red Dwarf (11) red sonja (18) rendel (7) Resident Evil (9) retro comic (101) Richard Sharpe (10) riddick (4) riese (4) rip hunter (13) Ripper Street (11) riverdale (120) roan (1) Robin Hood (30) robocop (14) robotech (3) rochester (4) rocket age (11) rocket raccoon (63) roger corman (14) rogue one (14) roleplaying review (38) rom (6) round-up (57) RPG (2531) rpgaday (33) runaways (1) Runequest (11) Russia (79) s and s (1) s w (80) sabrina (21) salem (1) Salute To The 40s (8) sara jean underwood (7) satine phoenix (2) saturday morning matinee (387) savage worlds (100) SB (6) scooby-doo (25) scorpion king (5) Season 10 (5) Season 16 (6) Season 18 (6) Season 19 (6) Season 22 (5) Season 26 (4) serial thrillers (26) sevenoaks (13) seventh son (2) shadowrun (5) shakespeare (43) Shannara (3) shark (47) sharknado (36) shazam (34) Shedward (14) sheep (5) sherlock (41) shield (216) Shyamalan (8) sick (12) sick week (9) sidcup (1) silurians (15) simon (101) sinbad (56) sinbad week (7) SixoftheBest (61) SJA (106) slaine (20) sleepy hollow (10) sls (11) smallville (78) smurf (6) snake plissken (2) snoopy (12) snow (42) snow white (16) sns (2) soap box (62) sontaran (29) space 1889 (109) space 1889 library (3) space 1999 (3) spam tasting (5) spartacus (82) Spawn (3) spellfury (34) spelljammer (5) Spider-Man (272) sponsored post (2) sport (76) Squadron UK (3) st trinians (2) stacks (1) stacktastic (6) staghind (5) staircase watch (1) Stan Lee (83) Star Trek (334) star wars (723) Stargate (53) statistics (90) steampunk (118) steve (135) Steve Costigan (1) STO (1) STP (3) stranger things (14) stroke survivor (27) strontium dog (2) sucker punch (7) suicide squad (49) Sunday Funny (379) sunday specials (13) sunflower (5) Supergirl (135) Supergirl Sunday (29) superhero 2044 (3) superman (451) Supernatural (362) superteam (159) survivors (15) swing (11) t and t (11) t-shirts (32) tales from the loop (3) tales from the vault (4) tales of the gold monkey (9) tarzan (26) TBBT (60) TCM (29) Teen Titans (57) tekralh (201) tekralh reborn (17) tekumel (29) Terminator (40) terra nova (3) TFT (43) Thanos (13) the 100 (4) The 4400 (14) The Asylum (64) The Atom (37) the cape (8) the following (32) the gifted (10) The Guild (11) the hobbit (76) the hoff (8) the librarians (9) The Lurking Fear (3) The Mist (6) the quest (3) the ray (1) the river (2) The Shadow (7) this defiant earth (1) this is england (3) Thomas Jane (5) Thor (206) thrilling locations (11) throwback thursday (66) Thunderbirds (7) thundercats (2) Tick (5) Tim Peake (2) timeless (1) tina guo (3) tintin (12) TMNT (16) tomorrow people (4) tomorrowland (2) Tonbridge (138) Toni Darling (4) top of the pile (184) Top Secret RPG (85) top shelf (11) Torchwood (137) torn from the headlines (189) trailer (2340) transformers (14) Traveller (43) treasure trove (38) Trial Of A Time Lord (5) trigan empire (1) trope tuesday (1) True Blood (42) True Detective (11) tuesday knights (437) tumblr (57) Tunbridge Wells (144) tv (2992) Twin Peaks (46) ubiquity (73) unisystem (46) Urban Exploring (8) urban knights (3) V (25) V and V (334) Valerian (14) valhalla (2) valiant (23) Valorie Curry (4) vampire (253) vampirella (20) van allen plexico (5) vandal savage (8) vault (1) venture bros (4) Venus (31) video (25) vikings (30) vixen (16) voltron (3) wales (6) warcraft (36) warehouse 13 (49) wargame (408) Watchmen (85) wayward pines (3) wedding (69) week in geek (111) week in TV (47) Weekly World News (26) weird wednesday (37) wentworth (6) werewolf (89) western (189) westworld (8) WGA (12) white canary (21) wii (6) wil wheaton (39) wild cards (10) wild dog (5) Wildthyme (14) william shatner (15) Winnie The Pooh (8) WoH (6) Wolverine (77) wonder girl (13) wonder woman (535) wonderland (33) World of Darkness (6) WRC (18) wrinkle in time (1) wuxia (47) www (361) wynonna earp (1) X-Files (55) x-men (179) x-o manowar (7) xena (40) yggdrasill (3) ZD (9) zelda (4) zenescope (19) zombie (431) zorcerer of zo (4) zorro (1) zot (1) zygon (17)