Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Monday, 29 November 1999 18:00
8/10 - 8/16/2007
Reviewed by Diane Carson
In This Is England, writer/director Shane Meadows brings July 1983 to vivid life through the character of 12-year-old Shaun. More remarkable, Meadows avoids the clichés of the alienated youth genre while never sacrificing the particulars of the early Thatcher years, just after the conclusion of the Falklands War. Having taught in Manchester, England on a year-long Fulbright exchange at about this time, I felt a strong sense of dejá vu, so perfectly does This Is England express the explosive mood, the barely suppressed anger, and the distasteful emotions of National Front xenophobia.

And yet, by burrowing into the characters, Meadows refuses the easy path of sensationalizing actions. They're never justified, but Meadows understands the situation and personalities--he was a skinhead himself in the 80s in a place very like this unexciting northwestern coastal town. The authenticity is palpable and noteworthy.

As the film begins, Shaun bristles at the teasing he takes from older classmates. He's a hair trigger, set off by what we immediately understand as unrelenting taunting. When a skinhead befriends Shaun and makes him one of the older (teenage) gang, Shaun signs on. Nicely, his mother is no shrew but a supportive, loving person who realizes she can't give Shaun what he lacks-male role models. Her husband/Shaun's father died in the Falklands War; she and Shaun articulate how much he's missed. And Shaun identifies with his new friends who run riot in a couple scenes. It gets much more distressing when a racist returns from jail. I had students who behaved and dressed in very similar ways in working class Manchester. So it's refreshing to see heart-breaking situations not sugar coated, not simplified while it's painful to watch the dysfunctional behavior by frustrated, disenfranchised youngsters. And all don't succumb to hateful behavior though important conflicts and terrifying confrontations ensue. These are individuals who think and choose.

The performances by all are electrifying and convincing. The music that so momentously defined the time and tone saturates the soundtrack, commenting appropriately in many scenes. This Is England is engaging, informative, and illuminating of a subculture too often dismissed and demonized. At Landmark's Tivoli Theatre through August 16th.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Karate Bikini - A Simpler Sugar

Wed November 26
Karate Bikini is an eight piece ensemble who's members hail from St. Louis and the metro area. They are a large band with a large sound. Their latest album A Simpler Sugar is full of upbeat pop songs,…

Jah Orah and KD Assassin

Wed November 19

KDHX Recommends

December
Friday
05

Roscoe Mitchell and Craig Taborn

An internationally known musician, composer and innovator, Roscoe Mitchell began his distinguished career in the spirited 1960s of Chicago. NYC pianist and ECM recording artist, Craig Taborn, has remained a ubiquitous presence on the...


December
Thursday
11

KDHX Discovery Series: History of Psychedelia

The KDHX Discovery Series presents the "History of Psychedelia," with DJ valis. KDHX DJ, valis will take you on a multimedia journey through the annals of psychedelic musical history. The evening will feature a...


December
Sunday
14

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holid...

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holid... 88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holiday Sing-along Sunday, December 14 at Noon. Tickets available online.  Toys, clothes, food and other gifts will be collected at the door for...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

6 users and 10303 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook