I think Shane Meadows was probably a pretty sweet kid…
sweet, but with a big chip on his shoulder.
The writer/director gives us a glimpse of his youth in the semi-autobiographical “This is England”.
Set in 1983 in a shabby, provincial Midlands town, Meadows tells a story of the restless youth of England. Shaun (Thomas Turgoose), who lost his father in the Falklands War, forges unexpected friendships with skinhead rebel Woody and his gang. The dynamics of Woody’s gang shift when one-time jailbird Combo (Stephen Graham) returns to encourage the youngsters to pledge their allegiance to the National Front. Shaun’s story is a cautionary tale about the susceptibility of needy young men to the severity of far-right ideology.
‘England’ is a film full of outstanding naturalistic performances. Turgoose’s talent is utilized to its fullest potential; his soulful eyes show rage one minute and are full of sadness the next.
The cinematography is fantastic; nothing flashy, just completely authentic.
Meadows finds beauty in the most mundane of landscapes…it’s pretty amazing.
He seems to have a knack for highlighting the things most directors take for granted.
This is a bold, rite of passage story with heart.
See, the Brits can be warm and fuzzy, too.