This Is England

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For the song by The Clash, see This Is England (song).
This Is England
This is england film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shane Meadows
Produced by Mark Herbert
Written by Shane Meadows
Paddy Considine (uncredited)[citation needed]
Starring Thomas Turgoose
Stephen Graham
Jo Hartley
Andrew Shim
Vicky McClure
Joseph Gilgun
Rosamund Hanson
Music by Ludovico Einaudi
Cinematography Danny Cohen
Edited by Chris Wyatt
Production
company
Distributed by Optimum Releasing
Release dates
  • 12 September 2006 (2006-09-12) (TIFF)
  • 27 April 2007 (2007-04-27) (United Kingdom)
Running time 102 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £1,472,500[2]
Box office £5,058,600[3]

This Is England is a 2006 British drama film written and directed by Shane Meadows. The story centres on young skinheads in England in 1983. The film illustrates how their subculture, which has its roots in 1960s West Indian culture, especially ska, soul, and reggae music,[4][5] became adopted by white nationalists, which led to divisions within the skinhead scene. The film's title is a direct reference to a scene where the character Combo explains his nationalist views using the phrase "this is England" during his speech.

Plot[edit]

In 1983, 12-year-old schoolboy Shaun gets into a fight at school after a classmate, Harvey, makes an offensive joke about his father, who died in the Falklands War. On his way home, Shaun comes across a group of young skinheads led by Woody, who feels sympathy for Shaun and invites him to join the group, among them Milky who is the only black skinhead in the group, Lol is Woody's girlfriend, Gadget, Smell, Pukey, Kes, Kelly (Lol's younger sister), Trev, and Meggy. They accept Shaun as a member, and he finds a big brother in Woody, while developing a romance with Smell, an older girl who dresses in a new wave style.

Combo, an older skinhead, returns to the group after a prison sentence, accompanied by a knife-wielding mustachioed man called Banjo. A charismatic but unstable individual with sociopathic tendencies, Combo expresses English nationalist and racist views, and attempts to enforce his leadership over the other skinheads. This leads the group to split. Combo is impressed by and identifies with Shaun, who in turn sees Combo as a mentor figure.

Shaun stays in Combo's group instead of the apolitical skinheads led by Woody. Shaun goes with Combo's group to a white nationalist meeting. After Pukey expresses doubt over the group's racist and nationalistic politics, Combo throws him out of the group and sends him back to Woody. The gang then engages in racist antagonism of, among others, shopkeeper Mr. Sandhu, an Indian man who had previously banned Shaun from his shop.

Combo becomes depressed after Lol, whom Combo has loved since having sex with her one night, years before, rejects him. To console himself, Combo buys cannabis from Milky. At a party with Shaun and the other members of Combo's group, Combo and Milky bond while intoxicated. Combo invites Milky to tell him about himself. Milky describes his many relatives and comfortable family life to Combo who listens with increasing jealousy. When Milky invites him to a family dinner, Combo becomes enraged and beats Milky into a coma whilst Banjo holds down Shaun, who watches in horror. Ashamed and devastated by what he has done to Milky, Combo then turns hysterical, violently pushing Shaun out of the room and glassing Banjo in the side of the head, covering Meggy in blood. Shaun returns, and he and Combo are shown crying and panicking whilst dragging Milky to a nearby hospital.

The film cuts forward to Shaun in his room brooding about the whole event, with his mother Cynthia (Jo Hartley) assuring Shaun that Milky will be all right. Shaun is then shown walking near the beach and throwing his Saint George Flag into the sea.

Cast[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

This Is England Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released 23 April 2007
Genre Rock
Ska
Brit pop
Reggae
Jazz rock
Label Commercial Marketing
Shane Meadows film soundtracks chronology
Dead Man's Shoes
(2004)
This Is England
(2006)
Somers Town
(2008)
  1. "54–46 Was My Number" – Toots & The Maytals
  2. "Come On Eileen" – Dexys Midnight Runners
  3. "Tainted Love" – Soft Cell
  4. "Underpass/Flares" (Film dialogue)
  5. "Nicole (Instrumental)" – Gravenhurst
  6. "Cynth / Dad" (Film dialogue)
  7. "Morning Sun" – Al Barry & The Cimarons
  8. "Shoe Shop" (Film dialogue)
  9. "Louie Louie" – Toots & The Maytals
  10. "Pressure Drop" – Toots & The Maytals
  11. "Hair in Cafe" (Film dialogue)
  12. "Do the Dog" – The Specials
  13. "Ritornare" – Ludovico Einaudi
  14. "This Is England" (Film dialogue)
  15. "Return of DJango" – Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters
  16. "Warhead" – UK Subs
  17. "Fuori Dal Mondo" – Ludovico Einaudi
  18. "Since Yesterday" – Strawberry Switchblade
  19. "Tits" (Film dialogue)
  20. "The Dark End of the Street" – Percy Sledge
  21. "Oltremare" – Ludovico Einaudi
  22. "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" (The Smiths cover) – Clayhill
  23. "Dietro Casa" – Ludovico Einaudi
  24. "Never Seen the Sea" – Gavin Clark (of Clayhill)
Additional music from the film includes
  1. "Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 in D. OP 39/1" (Edward Elgar) – performed by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  2. "Maggie Gave a Thistle" – Wayne Shrapnel and The Oi Stars
  3. "Let's Dance" – Jimmy Cliff

Production[edit]

Much of the film was shot in residential areas of Nottingham, including St Ann's, Lenton, and The Meadows, with one section featuring abandoned houses at the former airbase RAF Newton, outside of Bingham, Nottinghamshire.[6] The opening fight was filmed at Wilsthorpe Business and Enterprise College, a secondary school in Derbyshire.[7] Additional scenes such as "the docks" were filmed in Turgoose's home town of Grimsby, which is also the opening scene for This is England '86, episode one.

Turgoose was 13 at the time of filming.[8] Turgoose had never acted before, had been banned from his school play for bad behaviour, and demanded £5 to turn up for the film's auditions.[9] The film was dedicated to Turgoose's mother, Sharon, who died of cancer on 29 December 2005; while she never saw the film, she saw a short preview. The cast attended her funeral.

Setting[edit]

The film is set in an unidentified town in the Midlands. Although much of the film was shot on location in Nottingham, a number of scenes feature the town's docks, which precludes this inland city being the setting for the action. Similarly, the accents of the main characters are drawn from a wide geographical area.

Reception[edit]

On 5 January 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 93% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 82 reviews.[10] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 86/100, based on 23 reviews — indicating "universal acclaim".[11] This made it the tenth best reviewed film of the year.[12]

The film appeared on several US critics' top ten lists of 2007; it was third on the list by Newsweek's David Ansen, seventh on the list by The Oregonian's Marc Mohan, and ninth on the list by Los Angeles Times '​ Kevin Crust.[13]

In Britain, director Gillies Mackinnon rated the film the best of the year[14] and David M. Thompson, critic and film-maker, rated it third.[15] The film was ranked fourteenth in The Guardian '​s list of 2007's Best Films[16] and fifteenth in Empire's Movies of the Year.

Accolades[edit]

The film won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the 2007 British Academy Film Awards. It also won the Best Film category at the 2006 British Independent Film Awards, Turgoose winning the Most Promising Newcomer award.

Spin-off/sequel[edit]

In 2010, a spin-off series set three years after the film, This Is England '86, was shown on Channel 4. A sequel to the series set two and a half years later, This Is England '88, was broadcast in December 2011. A third installment, This Is England '90, was originally due in late 2012, but in July 2012, Meadows announced that the production had been put on hold in order for him to complete his documentary about The Stone Roses,[17] and the actors were still waiting for confirmation as to when filming would start.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "THIS IS ENGLAND (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 6 February 2007. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "This is England". The Numbers. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "This Is England". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Brown, Timothy S. (2004). "Subcultures, pop music and politics: skinheads and "Nazi rock" in England and Germany". Journal of Social History. 
  5. ^ 'Cropping the skinhead image'. Guardian Books Blog. (26 April 2007). Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Films made in Nottingham". Thisisnottingham.co.uk. (29 November 2008). Retrieved on 6 April 2009.
  7. ^ BBC News report 12 September 2005
  8. ^ "Teenager Tommo lands gritty role". BBC News. 27 April 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  9. ^ Thomas Turgoose: the 13-year-old cheeky chappy goes from Grimsby to the big screen | YOU Magazine
  10. ^ "This Is England – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 5 January 2008. 
  11. ^ "This Is England (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 5 January 2008. 
  12. ^ "The Best-Reviewed Movies of 2007". Metacritic. Retrieved 5 January 2008. 
  13. ^ "Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2008. 
  14. ^ "The Insider's View, 21 December 2007". London: The Independent. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2008. 
  15. ^ "Films of the Year 2007". Sight & Sound. Retrieved 5 January 2008. 
  16. ^ "2007's Best Films". London: The Guardian. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2008. 
  17. ^ Metro, 4 July 2012: This Is England ’90 production halted for Shane Meadows' Stone Roses doc Retrieved 2012-08-30
  18. ^ Metro, 29 August 2012: This Is England star Chanel Cresswell admits 1990 update isn't confirmed Retrieved 2012-08-30

External links[edit]