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[Movie Review] This is England

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by cejay, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. Set in England in 1983, This is England tells the story of Shaun, a 12yo boy who having just lost his father in the Falklands war is lonely and being picked on at school. No wallflower, Shaun is looking for acceptance and a belonging. He finds all of this in a local skinhead group, who's leader, Woody, whilst being the hardman of the group has a strong sense of right and wrong. We get to know all the gang, Pukey, Gadget, Milky (a coloured guy, good English sense of humour here!) and Kes, along with Woody's girlfriend and Smell....

    Shaun's mother is loving, caring and everything he needs, but can't replace his father. Being accepted by the local gang involves getting new boots, jeans and a haircut. All is going well until the return of Combo, an original skinhead from the 60's after his release from jail. We never learn his crime, but it's clear he's not a nice man. The dynamic changes and we are left to consider the tension between the National Front loving, racist Combo and the tolerant, giving and accepting nature of Woody. Combo divides and attempts to spread his hatred to the others. Despite the temptation to want to hate Combo you are left with a feeling that something has happened to make him feel this way. Almost out of a sense of pity, you look for something to like in this man. Towards the end, you think you've found it, only to be, well, see the film.

    As someone who was 16 at the time the film was set, living in England, I remember the mood, the atmosphere, the sense of pride after the Falklands. Thatcher, the unions, 3.5 million out of a job and a country that was going nowhere in top gear.

    The fashions, the music, it was a time when the country was redefining itself. Having just ended the punk era, we were now in the New Romantic stage, but with Ska, Two Tone and skinheads all still resplendant in their Doc Martins and bomber jackets. School uniforms for me was trousers just short of your shoes, shirt done up, but with tie either fat and loose, with the tail hanging down, or tight and knotted right up. White socks, black shoes, pork pie hats.

    Who'd have thought that within 4yrs we'd be learning a new lexicon, yuppy, power dressing, shoulder pads and Wall Street money making machines?

    This has to be one of the most powerful films I have ever seen. Partially because the acting is just 'sterling', but mainly because it totally captures the mood of the time. It does this without being a whimsical rose tinted view, instead portraying the times as I remember them. The final 5 minutes will leave you just speechless and perhaps, like me, trying not to show that tear that's just appeared.

    There are so many reasons to see this film. The racism will show you what a racist country really is like. The music will leave you hanging out where to find the soundtrack. The acting will have you totally believing the characters. The housing will make you pleased you live here! The humour will have you laughing out loud. But mainly you will love the film because it will move you and make you think.

    Cliff *****
    Liz *****

    ps. I have totally got to thank Liz for showing me a totally different cinema to one I'd normally entertain. Sure I've been to Cinema Nova/Europa before, but this is a great journey you're taking me on! To think we saw The Simpson on Saturday (and loved it!) and This is England today.

    Check your local guides for details, but I saw this at 'Palace Cinemas' in the Como Centre in Toorak.

  2. agreed.

    watch this is england, then watch crash, in contradistinction, for the american attempt at the subject. america, as a general matter, = :roll:

    btw the reference just before the credit was for the kid's mother, who died during filming.
  3. I watched Crash and liked it, I'd give it a ***, but this film blew me away. Can't wait to find the soundtrack!
  4. I saw the preview for this and it does look impressive.
  5. Wow have to see this! As a skin back in the late '70s ealy '80s in leafy eastern suburban melbourne I identify already with Shaun [great name for skin!] as someone who adopted the dress and music of the ska/rude boys but never really got into the whole race thing. This is what drove me out when a bunch of northside's bashed a mate of mine because he was "not white enough". Fair enough they bashed anybody but it was the principle of the matter!.

    yes I know I was a wannabee from comfy whitebread melbourne, but hey not that different to the wannabee wiggers running around the burbs today! :LOL:
  6. Seriously, you'll love this film. Get in to see it asap, it's on limited release in Melbourne.
  7. Game on.
    I'm gathering up da Rude Girl and I'm there.
    :grin: :grin: :grin:
  8. Thanks Cejay, might well do that this weekend. The wife and kids are going away for the weekend! :grin:
  9. It was indeed an engaging movie. We thought it appropriate to see it at what was once the Seaview Ballroom, now the George cinemas. Good ol' St Kilda.
  10. Jeez, that stirred a remaining memory cell or two... :shock:
  11. Decided to have a quiet nite in so I watched it just then. WOW.

    I also liked Crash but that was nothing compared to this. Makes you realise how good you have it in Australia. And moreso, how accepting Australians are. The majority anyway.
  12. great write-up cejay. it was on my list but i'll bump it up the priorities!