Weekend Round-Up – The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and This Is England Review.
The Diamond Jubilee is around the corner and it seems FRC is caught up in national pride, here is Scott to explain.
Now I am not normally one for Patriotism. I am generally anti-establishment or even of the opinion that Britain is one of the worst countries to live in the current climate. But something strange has happened to me. I am looking forward to this summer, as for once it feels good to be British.
Not only have we got the London Olympics coming our way but we also have the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. And despite your feelings about the Royal family and the Queen in general there is something quite mystical about this year.
I don’t know why I am feeling this sudden love for my country, but I am enjoying it. I am looking forward to the Jubilee weekend. We have all the family coming over and we will fly a flag and wear union jacks, have a drink and have a good time.
I am just old enough to remember the last Jubilee, The Silver one in 1977. I was 4 and according to my Mum, I was dressed as a French Man for the street party. I don’t know why I was dressed up as a french man, but that is my mum for you. Although the country has changed so much and I doubt there will be as many street parties as back in 77 I still think that 2012 is a good year to be a Brit.
To commemorate the build up to the festivities. I have changed the logo and background of FRC to one that is fitting for the pride I am feeling. Also (and very luckily) Film4 are re-releasing their BEST OF BRITISH series of films on Blu-Ray on 28th May. FRC has been lucky enough to review and cover the release of these films prior to release. The films are as follows…
- Brassed Off
- Fever Pitch
- Life Is Sweet
- The Warrior
- Room With A View
- Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten
A pretty good mix of VERY British films. From Asif Kapadia’s The Warrior to the hum-drum hilarity of Mike Leigh’s Life Is Sweet; from the award-winning italian set A Room With A View to the much-loved homegrown Brassed Off; and from football classic Fever Pitch to Julien Temple’s feature about the cult hero Joe Strummer. It looks like I am in for a good couple of weeks covering these releases.
I will bring you 3 reviews a week from this series, as well as all the other stuff we normally host!
I haven’t talked about the weekend at all have I? Well I only got to see one film, inspired by Tom’s great director showcase about Shane Meadows, I finally got around to seeing The Is England…. So I am still on theme right?
Anyway here is my review…
This Is England
Set in a turbulent England during the early 1980s This Is England is a coming of age story fueled by some strong autobiographical elements. Hard hitting and a times brilliant, Shane Meadows This Is England is essential viewing for any Brit (shame it took me so long).
Shaun played by Thomas Turgoose is an 11-year-old boy who is not a stranger to tragedy, his father was killed in the Falklands War and now lives with his mother on a council estate in Northern England. He is picked on at school and he is depressed. One day on his long walk home he encounters a gang of local SKINHEADS, whose leader Woody takes an immediate liking to the boy, and takes him under his wing. Social stereotypes state that this gang, because of their looks must be up to no good. But actually Woody and crew have no ulterior motive than having a good time. For the first time since his father died, Shaun has found happiness. He loves his new surrogate family.
This all changes when Combo, played by Stephen Graham, is released from jail. He re-joins the group and swiftly takes over with his neo-nazi views and national front sympathies. He is seething with anger, mostly towards the Pakistani immigrants on his neighbourhood.
The group is swiftly divided with many member leaving because of Combo. Shaun however stays, he trusts Combo because of his view on the Falklands War being a pointless waste of life. Shaun chooses Combo over Shaun, because he offers the most retribution over the loss of his Fathers life.
Event though the story isn’t particularly profound in it’s message – that Thatcherism created twice as many problems as it solved, and that violent revolution to them is not the best answer to them – This Is England impresses with the heart-felt and naturalistic performances from the entire cast, also the portrayal of outsiders and alienated characters in society without pandering or romanticizing to them. Everyone has their reasons and motives, even Combo, who is like a coiled spring, is not without a heart though sometimes it seems lost beneath the twisted ideology that has infected his mind. Graham’s performance as Combo is astounding, he manages to convey this barely contained rage with such control. Even when he is at his most relaxed and almost kind, you can see the madness and fire trying to escape, like a wild dog on a lead.
Let us not forget though that this is Shaun’s coming-of-age story. Thomas Turgoose put’s in a very mature turn in the role that urges the audience to empathize with his plight. His journey that has elements that many of us can relate to, lost innocence, betrayal, disillusionment and the allure of rebellious causes on impressionable minds. The final scene maybe a little to neat for some, but there is no denying the poignancy of his story.
If you are 30 something then This Is England will hit you hard in more ways than one. So if you haven’t watched this film, like I hadn’t before this weekend, then I urge you to rent / stream / buy it now. Even if it is only to see Blockbusters Quiz show on your screen again!!
About The Author – Scott Lawlor
Chief Editor of FRC. A self confessed geek with an unhealthy thirst for all things Home Cinema. Whether it is the latest Action film or Subwoofer. Check out his home set up HERE
Have you seen this film? Are you feeling the NAtional Pride? Comment below…