Starring: Stephen Graham, Thomas Turgoose, Jo Hartley
Director: Shane Meadows
Running Time: 101 mins
This Is England is a British film about a young boy who joins with a local group, eventually meeting a brutal racist who persuades him into becoming a member of a fiercely ‘nationalistic’ gang, amidst the skinhead culture of the 1980s.
Well, this film really pulls you through every sort of emotion possible. It’s got a fascinating story, it’s occasionally funny, there are countless intriguing characters, but most of all, it’s a moving picture that really gets to the core of the brutality of gangs such as those in the film.
On the slightly lighter side of things, the relationships between characters makes for an entertaining watch. The fact that you’ve got such starkly contrasting people in this story makes for constant sparring throughout, occasionally resulting in a comedic outcome, but for the most part, these conflicts are more fascinating than at all funny.
The story, on the other hand, is very powerful. Although this may be a little too much on the arty side at points, it really does affect you while watching it, especially in some of the more horrifying scenes depicting serious racism and violence, which are mostly extremely difficult to watch.
The film also talks quite clearly about what the point of war is. Set post-Falklands War, this film really makes you think hard about the horrific nature of conflicts across the world, and looking at it from back home shows you what war is really being fought for.
Overall, though, I’ll give this an 8.4, because it was a truly fascinating, tough and powerful rollercoaster of emotions to watch.