Film & DVD Review: This is England

This is England

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I remember the hype about this film; if I recall lots of hand wringing…was it meant to be edgy? Cutting edge? Challenging? Celebrating racism?! Boy, O boy – partly autobiographical i.e. not written by a middle-class student or sixth-former! Wooden acting, stereotypical characters – lots of warnings on Film Four following each commercial break -yes the language was “bad” but NOTHING about this film was gritty, subtle, multi-dimensional, worrying, questioning, thought-provoking…I can’t get over the auto-biographical slant – otherwise it was a film I would have expected to be made by middle-class folk who have never lived on a “sink-estate” about working-class characters they’ve never met and about politics they haven’t got a clue about or any sense of how those politics might take hold of the dispossessed. Just one cliché after another. It got a bit “edgier” towards the end – all I can say is, thank God I didn’t waste my money at the flics. As for the end – little Shaun (by the way what was the paedophile thing going on – or does paedophilia only occur if the GIRL is young! Where were the Film Four warnings about this? I digress!) – the end: “symbolic” – the Cross of  St.George flag tossed in to the sea – was there a flag so maligned by its own nation’s artists me wonders? Is it not possible to write a film script/play/novel that deals with working-class politics (non –“left”) that uncovers truths beyond the cliché? Any producers out there, I’m yer man! I could do a better job and I’d put my pen where my mouth is!!!  So – not impressed…doubly not impressed because against the backdrop of the Falkland’s war (and therefore of relevance NOW with Afghanistan/Iraq) and with the rise of “far-right” politics (could these politics be dealt with so lazily in this modern technological age?) this film should REALLY have hit home – got me deep down and provoked a multitude of thoughts – not just these negative ones. I guess the only thing to say about the film (was it really so raved about?) – is that the political-skinhead didn’t have a homosexual affair (see how many times THAT one happens) or discover he was – in fact – an ethnic minority or his granddad was Jewish. I’m not suggesting any of these things work, are subtle or even help the cause of all of us rubbing-along on this tiny isle. It’s simply that when it comes to any artistic offering on the “far-right” we never get something “focussed” just looked at “askance” with the eyes and intellect of a schoolboy. Well it got me typing at least…The French made a great film about racial tension called “La Haine” – I still recall that years after watching – it had an effect. It lodged inside me. This film will be forgotten (by me) come morning. O, and as a musician – the clumsy inclusion of piano notes and strings at times was…No I’m lost for words – cue violin and piano to end review!



  1. dave said

    all i can say, is well said.


  2. stu tilly said

    There isn’t much I could add to your review,it seems to cover most of my feelings about it.
    When it was released and the various celebs were slapping each others backs at awards ceremonies ,the media took great pleasure in portraying the bloke that made this film as some kind of poacher turned gamekeeper.He made the most of this,and seemed to endlessly bad mouth the English in the way that we have become used to.
    Anyway decent review pleasantly devoid of any foaming at the mouth rhetoric.
    Keep it up


  3. The film was good for nostalgia and was realistic to a great extent with wardrobe, props and set all taking a lot of us back to our youth in the early 80’s.

    I was Shaun, a very young little Skinhead who also had the cheap version of the Doc Martins boots bought for me, as my parents couldn’t afford real Doc Martins… some of the scenes were spot on.

    I feel that knowing myself back then that the ending would not have been my choice if I was in that situation, but even if I would have taken a decision to throw my own countries flag in a river at approx 10 to 12 years old, my brain would have only been half grown at that time, I’m an adult now and know exactly what discrimination and racism is being aimed at us English right now and has been for many years and the only flag I want to throw in a river right now is the white flag! as no amount of media brainwashing etc will stop me from preserving and protecting my own English identity, culture, history and landscape of England.

    I look forward to seeing a film about the Scots, Irish, Welsh, Polish, Pakistanis, Somalians or Indians where one of their people throw their flag in a river due to witnessing one of their own go into a violent rage due to being forced to accept mass immigration whilst their Government abuses them and demonises them the minute they protest, and strips them of their identity and ethnically clears them of their areas and demonises and verbally attacks them with aggression when they protest … I won’t hold my breath.


  4. Glen Nicklasson said

    Well I’m not a great film buff. Has it been on TV yet? If not when’s it on?


    • Patrick Harrington said

      It was on recently. There is a new TV series taking the story further and you can catch it on youtube.


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