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This is England


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saw this last night. While I found it absolutely stunning, I was ever so slightly disappointed by how predictable it all was. As soon as combo hit milky up for some weed you knew exactly where it was going. Likewise at early doors when it was all sweetness and light you just knew something was gonna spoil it.

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I agree, it's a very good film, but it's basically exactly the same as all his other ones. The only really unpredictable element was who was going to get brutalised at the end – Milky or Lol. I absolutely love Shane Meadows' films, but part of that love is the unpredictability of them. I remember watching 'Romeo Brass' and 'Dead Man's Shoes' for the first time, and being genuinely thrilled by the fact I had no idea where the story was going. This time round, it's a bit more formulaic. Obviously, it's a formula Meadows has developed himself, and the film is still brilliantly acted and written. I'd just like his next film to be more of a surprise.

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As soon as combo hit milky up for some weed you knew exactly where it was going.

In relation to this point, I sort of felt that this was the point as it built up the tension to almost unbearable levels. you knew something bad was going to happen but when and what it was going to be was the point of the scene. Thats how I read it anyway.

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Yeah, I felt the same. You knew roughly what was coming but I thought that was kind of the point. It made the inevitable climax all the more chilling, to me. I do agree with you though, K, maybe next time it should be a bit of a surprise. I expect him to look at this, think he's done enough and move on. I hope so anyway. Brilliant though it was you don't need to see it repeated.

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  • 1 month later...

And the film finally comes to Leicester. :)

Absolutely brilliant in every department. What makes Meadow's films so great is the juxtaposition of violence and heavy material with some perfectly judged humour. Like Romeo Brass this film is littered with great lines that feel perfectly natural, and just like Brass it is always on the brink of turning nasty at any moment. All the performances were great. Shaun and Combo are the two obvious ones but it was nice to see the guy who played Romeo Brass again and he delivered once more.

The scenes with Smell worked for me. Sure it was a little odd and uncomfortable at times but every scene she was in was full of humour and great tenderness - the scene on the bed in particular sticks out and she is integral to the growth of Shaun's character.

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And the film finally comes to Leicester. :lol:

Absolutely brilliant in every department. What makes Meadow's films so great is the juxtaposition of violence and heavy material with some perfectly judged humour. Like Romeo Brass this film is littered with great lines that feel perfectly natural, and just like Brass it is always on the brink of turning nasty at any moment. All the performances were great. Shaun and Combo are the two obvious ones but it was nice to see the guy who played Romeo Brass again and he delivered once more.

The scenes with Smell worked for me. Sure it was a little odd and uncomfortable at times but every scene she was in was full of humour and great tenderness - the scene on the bed in particular sticks out and she is integral to the growth of Shaun's character.

Someone finally agrees with me about the Smell scenes :P

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I liked those scenes too, I didn't know people were criticising them (I'm feeling to lazy to read the thread through just now). The only problem I had with them is that she really reminded me of this horrific girl I went to school with.

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  • 2 months later...

Phew - just finished watching this. Its amazingly uncomfortable to sit through (in a good way) - Stephen Graham in particular was incredible, and really stole the show with the sheer unpredictability of his character. Top performances all round though, and the music too was :lol:

I agree with whoever said the sidelining of Woody was a bit of a shame - he was a great character, and it would have been interesting to see how his life changed after being ousted as leader. We got a brief glimpse of it at Smells' party, but that was it sadly.

Top stuff, all in all :lol:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Watched this last night and though it was very good apart from the lacklustre ending. I don't exactly know what I expected to happen at the end but it just felt a bit unfinished or unsatisfying. Some stellar acting and as someone that remembers the 80's everything looked exactly like it should.

I'm amazed that Stephen Graham is actually a scouser. His accent in Snatch sounded dead on but his scouse accent in this felt slightly forced and unnatural at times!

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  • 3 months later...
I'd say it was an odd blend of coming-of-age and young adult drama. I feel the protagonist was the wrong choice to provide the 'eyes' for the viewer, as far as the NF stuff went. I really appreciate the theme and morality tale Meadows tried for, I just think he fell short.

Oh man, no way. Thomas Turgoose is incredible. He gives one of the best child performances I've ever seen.

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  • 3 months later...

Acting was superb. Depressing subject.

Stephen Graham was particularly excellent.

Fixed rails plot, predictable, slightly rushed conclusion.

Good filmmaker but really didn't enjoy watching this.

What was the point? What's he saying? Role Models? What?

Help me understand. What questions should it have asked me?

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I understood the film to be an attack on patriotism; or, rather, pointless jingoism that people take up in lieu of any direction or meaning in their lives. Combo's rabid hatred of immigrants stems from his own self-loathing and loneliness, presumably as a result of his experiences in prison, and his near-fatal beating of Milky comes after Lol knocked him back. He needs the hatred of something to fill the gap in his empty life.

This is contrasted with the war on the Falklands that killed Shaun's dad - Meadows' point is that the Falklands War was a pointless exercise in imperial nostalgia, and that many young men (both British & Argentinian) died as a result of their government's ideas of national pride. The phrase 'This Is England' is basically saying 'This is what happens when people consider some fictional idea of an intangible concept (Combo's idea of a white UK or Thatcher's idea of the empire) more important than people's lives'.

I wasn't so keen on the film the first time I watched it either, and I especially thought the climax was a bit rushed. The second time round was much better though, and I thought the ending in particular was very moving.

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I understood the film to be an attack on patriotism; or, rather, pointless jingoism that people take up in lieu of any direction or meaning in their lives. Combo's rabid hatred of immigrants stems from his own self-loathing and loneliness, presumably as a result of his experiences in prison, and his near-fatal beating of Milky comes after Lol knocked him back. He needs the hatred of something to fill the gap in his empty life.

This is contrasted with the war on the Falklands that killed Shaun's dad - Meadows' point is that the Falklands War was a pointless exercise in imperial nostalgia, and that many young men (both British & Argentinian) died as a result of their government's ideas of national pride. The phrase 'This Is England' is basically saying 'This is what happens when people consider some fictional idea of an intangible concept (Combo's idea of a white UK or Thatcher's idea of the empire) more important than people's lives'.

I wasn't so keen on the film the first time I watched it either, and I especially thought the climax was a bit rushed. The second time round was much better though, and I thought the ending in particular was very moving.

Thanks K. I appreciate your thoughts

I'm probably still not quite getting it...

I expected a character like Combo (hatred of immigrants/full of imperial nostalgia/patriotism) to be in full support of the war & keeping the 'empire' intact.

If Meadows wanted to attack Patriotism (and highlight the Falklands war as a pointless exercise, killing hundreds of young men) i would've expected Shaun (or maybe Woody) to be against it.

Instead we have a reversal, where Shaun is in full support and Combo fully opposed.

The drowning of the St.Georges cross at the end, Shauns relinquishing of patriotism? His opposition to the war?

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Why do films have to have a definable 'point'? Come And See is one of the greatest films I've ever seen, but does that film really have a 'point'? Was it trying to educate you to the plight of villages that the Nazis burned down? Did people not already know that they razed lots of Russia and its soon-to-be satellite states? Do people need telling the Nazis are bad? What are the dream-like sequences for? Why is it a coming of age story intermingled with war?

I just took it as being a view on a particular aspect of British society born from Meadows' own childhood experiences, and that it happens to have some similarities with current modern-day Britain. Obviously there are lots of subjects that revolve around this (most listed above), but it's about a fixed point in history. I would find it odd if you watched it and didn't consider the role of 'patriotism' in society now and contrasted it to what it was 20 years ago, the current war and that war, etc. on a superficial level.

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Why do films have to have a definable 'point'? Come And See is one of the greatest films I've ever seen, but does that film really have a 'point'? Was it trying to educate you to the plight of villages that the Nazis burned down? Did people not already know that they razed lots of Russia and its soon-to-be satellite states? Do people need telling the Nazis are bad? What are the dream-like sequences for? Why is it a coming of age story intermingled with war?

I just took it as being a view on a particular aspect of British society born from Meadows' own childhood experiences, and that it happens to have some similarities with current modern-day Britain. Obviously there are lots of subjects that revolve around this (most listed above), but it's about a fixed point in history. I would find it odd if you watched it and didn't consider the role of 'patriotism' in society now and contrasted it to what it was 20 years ago, the current war and that war, etc. on a superficial level.

Hmmm...

My thoughts.

It's not that films 'have to have' a definable point.

However looking from a creative perspective, I would hope that there was a 'definable' idea/point/pitch for spending £2.2 million and months of hard work, other than making a well executed, but thoroughly depressing 'particular aspect of British society at a fixed point in history' film.

I was hoping there were certain things Ambrose wanted to highlight from making this film that i had missed? (aside from saying: 'look how things were 25 years ago', compare and contrast/do we still have the same problems? etc)

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  • 9 months later...

Anybody heard about the mini-series that is supposed to be in development for this at the moment? It was mentioned on Twitch Film tonight but I'd not heard anything about it.

Normally the idea of a TV spin-off to a movie has me worried but this could be quite good, especially as the original cast aren't too 'big' to do the series.

EDIT: Just found this on Meadow's forum:

This is England the Series is underway to some degree. The way TV works is kinda different to Film so we won't know for sure if it green lit until C4 read our first draft of the first episode on the 29th of Jan. All being well, we get the other five scripts commissioned at that meeting or pretty soon after and myself and Jack Thorn (My Co-Writer) will write the other 5 ep's with an aim to shoot them later in the year. I will probably direct the first and last ep's and will assign other exiting directors to do the other 4 so I can make another feature later in the year.
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