This afternoon in the company of my friend Mark I escaped the dull, drizzly wi-fi-enabled noughties and timewarped to July 1983 through the magic of the cinema. A time when Thatcher (Mrs) ruled with her iron handbag and wonky finger, when Tony Blair had just entered parliament, and when, if memory serves, we must have been packing up to move house. We were leaving leafy, suburban, right-wing Broxbourne for Oundle, a genteel town in the Northamptonshire countryside infested with posh young toffs. (No, I didn’t go to the public school.)
The film This is England opens on the last day of the school term. (Because we were moving away from the area, I remember that day vividly. How odd.) It’s non-uniform day, and the main character of the story – 12-year-old Shaun – is picked on as he’s wearing less-than-trendy flares. His dad was killed in the Falklands. The film shows his life over the next few weeks, and to say any more would spoil it.
It’s funny, disturbing, scary and violent. Thomas Turgoose, the actor playing Shaun, is pretty amazing. The hair stylists, make-up artists and fashion designers in the production team deserve awards for their dedication above and beyond to reproducing the hideous fashions of the day. I pity the actors who suffered for their art and actually had their hair done like that. I will overlook the two shots in which (adopts nerd voice) modern satellite dishes were clearly visible (reverts to normal geek voice).
If you like your films gritty, realistic and tattooed, you’ll like this one. It’s superb. (Expats: apparently it has a limited release in the US in July.)
Avaragado’s rating: twiglets