Friday, April 18, 2008
This is England
Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) is kid who never quite fits in. He gets picked on at school for the way he dresses... his hair... his diminutive size. But when Shaun makes friends with Woody (Joseph Gilgun), he feels like he has finally found his place. Woody sticks up for him and shows him how to dress and act... shoot you might not even connect the skinhead culture into this right away until Shaun has his head shaved by a comely lass. Everything seems to be going rosey until Woody's friend Combo (Stephen Graham) gets out of jail. Combo is a hardcore nationalistic skinhead who has greater plans for Woody's group of friends. Combo's rhetoric appeals to Shaun's disallustionment after losing his father in a unnecessary war (sound familiar?).
Under all the pretensions you might have towards skinheads, you find a well crafted story about children growing up with no one in their lives but themselves. Shaun's story probably feels more current with the Iraq War echoing England's 25 years ago. Most of the actors you will have not seen before except for Stephen Graham (Snatch) - all of which feel dead on. There's nothing truly flashy here with writer/director Shane Meadows telling a simple story. The cinematography is solid for a low budget flick and the soundtrack of music is well picked to not draw any attention away from the story. I felt a tinge of George Washington here as well. That was another film about what happens to children without adults around. Both are just as heartbreaking.