I'm a freelance writer living in Melbourne, residing in the South-Eastern suburbs.
Published February 12th 2013
The fallacy of the skin-head
The 80's. A decade detailed with the mainstream rise of hip hop and surreal success of Michael Jackson and Madonna. A decade which emerged swiftly from the hippy days, reminiscent in the 70's..
This is England is an English film released in 2006, directed by Shane Meadows. The plot follows young Shaun Field, played effectively by Thomas Turgoose, as he strives for a common acceptance in the very much corporate landscape of the 80's. Shaun is essentially faced with a typical yet deadly culprit through childhood: that being of course - bullying. Marching through the British streets, sporting a rugged haircut and pants which exceed vastly in length for a small fellow - Shaun is a prime target for abuse and neglect by his peers.
The rebellious Shaun
On a typical day Shaun crosses through an underpass where he meets a rag-tag gang mellowing out with chatter and booze. On crossing through this walkway, Shaun is welcomed by a modest fellow nicknamed 'Woody', played excellently by Joe Gilgun - a skinny and understanding character who feels some sense of sympathy for Shaun's troubles. This group however is not a collective of typical students, they are in fact moderate nationalists.
From the initial meeting of characters, Shaun becomes a close accomplice of Woody's crew and is placed in distinctly peculiar situations for his young age. The group act as a mentor for Shaun though such mentoring inevitably directs him towards the life of a rabid nationalist with traits of white supremacy. Shaun's own premature life shifts amazingly upon coming into contact with 'Combo', a very devote nationalist who spurs on immense hate towards middle-easterners and the 'coloured'.
The film effectively details the struggles of a troubled young man in a society plagued with discrimination. Though Shaun initially has no notable hatred or neglect for the coloured, he forms his own sense of anger when under the influence of a few eerie characters. The directing in This is England is done very effectively with a notable emphasis being placed on character development. With a plot full of character, and suspense to match This is England is a fresh new look into the plagued lifestyle of devote nationalism and the potentially cohesive influence of an ideology.