Late last year I was up very late after bottle feeding duty with my son. As I was channel surfing, I had the good luck to stumble across the movie This Is England . It was available on demand so I paid Time Warner Cable their $10 and settled in for the show. I was mesmerized. I was blown away. It was one of the best movies I saw in 2007. Apparently I was in good company as the film and its director Shane Meadows won a slew of awards including the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the 2007 British Academy Film Awards. It also won the Best Film category at the 2006 British Independent Film Awards, with Thomas Turgoose winning the Most Promising Newcomer award.
For the unaware, the film highlights the fact that the skinhead subculture in England, which is partly based on elements of black culture (especially ska, rocksteady, reggae and soul music), eventually became adopted by white nationalist groups such as the National Front. The story focuses on young Shaun (Thomas Turgoose), who, after suffering bullying at school and having to deal with the death of his father in the Falklands War, falls in with a group of older skinheads. When National Front member Combo (Stephen Graham) returns from prison and asserts his leadership, the group splits into two factions: non-racist skinheads and white power skinheads. What follows is an often-disturbing view of 1980s England featuring the ramifications of the Falklands War and the rise of white nationalism, all portrayed through the eyes of a boy forced to face the frightening realities of adulthood before his time.
The movie soundtrack is fantastic and really added to the overall power of the movie. You can download the soundtrack which features ska and reggae classics like 54-46 Was My Number, Louie Louie and Pressure Drop by Toots & The Maytals, Morning Sun by Al Barry & The Cimarons, Do The Dog by The Specials and Return Of DJango by The Upsetters among many.
If you have the patience and the disc space on your hard drive you can download the movie in eight parts courtesy of Digicinema. For those of you with a bit of extra scratch in your pockets or who prefer to listen to the angel on your shoulder and do the right thing you can buy a discounted copy of the DVD here.
Still not convinced? Then peep these scenes from the movie. This one is the film trailer.
Here is the opening scene for the movie: