Sunday, May 13, 2007

Film Review: This is England

Last Sunday, Cloud and I met up with some friends. Every so often - far less often than we'd like, but its never anything less than a delight to see them - we meet for a film and a meal.

This time we went to see Shane Meadows "This is England" (a review of which is also here at Alan's place).

I probably found it a more affecting film than Alan; I was more moved than disturbed by the relationship of Shaun and Smell. And I really admired the discomforting way in which Meadows made his characters more than one-dimensional goodies/baddies, even when they (largely) behaved as the most reprehensible racists. Praise has been justly given to Thomas Turgoose for his astonishing performance as Shaun, but I'd also pick out Stephen Graham for turning in such a compelling turn as the vile but utterly damaged and tormented Combo. The rage that drives Combo to despicable acts of violence is not simplistically drawn from race hatred but from complex, indeed pesonal, troubles.

Watching it the Nottingham Broadway it was hardly likely to have drawn an audience whose attitudes to race would be much less than at least vaguely liberal. And with its 18 certificate (talk about missing the point BBFC) it's going to get limited opportunities to be shown to younger people who might benefit from seeing and debating the issues it raises. Nicely handled throughout, including some deft switching of tone (from audience laughter to immediate discomfort and disgust), it proves an elegant follow-up to the masterfully sinister Dead Man's Shoes.

Good times for a change indeed.


J.J said...

Thanks for this Lisa - hoping to see this one.

George Walks said...

I delayed reading this until after I'd seen it. I mainly agree with your comments, a great film although I found it a little simple in story. However, there was enough being said to carry it through.