this is england

July 10, 2008

Now that Mr. Snow is no longer Mr. Bicycle and is back to being Mr. Snow, we are finally getting to work through our massive heist of DVDs from my last trip to Indonesia (all certified genuine legal copies of course, Mr. Customs Officer, in case you are reading this).

One of the best of this batch so far has undoubtedly been This Is England. I never thought I would describe a film about skinheads in early 80’s Midlands Britain as sensitive and funny, but this film really is that. The opening montage sets the scene perfectly with scenes from then: Atari’s Space Invaders, Charles and Diana’s wedding, the Falklands war and great music that continues throughout the film.

Shaun, a 12-year old boy who lost his father in the war, gets drawn into and is slowly adopted by a bunch of older skinheads, and then by their more hard-core friend Combo. The sight of the little boy with his shaved head may seem shocking, as is the rascist abuse they literaly train Shaun in. But the film says just as much about the sad and depressed lives in the city where they live.

More a snapshot of one summer than a story about the movement, and all the more moving for it. Possibly the best film I have seen so far this year… and others would agree.


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