This is England (2008)

written and directed by Shane Meadows
with: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham

The film is about 11-year-old Shaun, who, after being bullied many times, runs into a gang of skinheads who later on become his friends. Shaun is grieving for his recently deceased father who was at war and needs an escape, just like the rest of the gang and like any youngster growing up. Shaun experiences with drugs, alcohol, women, violence and attire.

This film is a bittersweet semi-autobiographical piece based on the personal experiences of Shane Meadows. It basically tries to show the essence of the skinheads in the most honest way, which is different from the usual preconceptions people relate to the movement. It contains positive social and civil aspects, which are not very often portrayed in these type of movies. It explains the reasons why people join a gang and how it helps them improve their lives and self-confidence and how things can go wrong, and that is why I like this movie. It explores more than the superficiality (war, violence, racism, nationalism, drugs, freedom, crime) and submerges itself into the psychological aspects of the characters, offering explanations to each of their behaviors and actions. If the viewer feels like a member of the group, it's because the director filmed it in such a way that it makes you feel closer to them and relate and understand each one of them. It feels realistic.

Rating: 7.25/10

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