Monday, August 4, 2008

This Is England

And this is a difficult movie to watch. Set in a small English town in 1983, the film chronicles a 12-year-old boy's transition from a picked-on kid to a skinhead. The young lad is initially taken in by a nice group of skinheads (no, that's not a contradiction in terms) but eventually gets caught up with a rougher (read: racist) crowd that imbues him with their splenetic and irrational racial thinking. (Here's the trailer if you want).

What makes this movie tough to watch is how this kid--whose father died in the short-lived Falkland Wars--is manipulated by the skinhead leader (played devilishly well by Tommy from Snatch). Even more difficult to watch is the way said leader's hatred manifests itself (and you thought he hated pykies!). However, I feel like the pain the viewer endures is worth it by the time the film closes.

Historical aside: I disagree with the movie's portrayal of the Falkland Wars and Margaret Thatcher, but I agree with their portrayal of the two different kind of skinheads (of which I would have no idea if one of my colleagues wasn't seriously pursuing the history of the modern skinhead as a dissertation topic).

Final Grade: B+
This isn't Before the Devil Knows You're Dead--which is a good movie that you shouldn't watch; this is a good movie that is difficult to watch but provides an interesting look at a time that is often overlooked. Thankfully nobody yells "This is England!" like the guys from 300 yell "This is Sparta!" That alone should be enough to set aside any apprehensions you have about watching this film.

1 comment:

  1. Cicero Paine8/28/08, 2:39 PM

    This movie sounds fascinating, and as someone who has had a number of sharp-skin friends over the years, I am particularly interested in how this your man transitions from anti-racist to racist skinhead.