|This Is England (2008) United Kingdom|
Summary: If there’s a more exciting and diverse a film director currently working in the UK than Shane Meadows, then it’s reason to truly celebrate. In fact, the sheer quality of Meadow’s own output is enough reason to be enthused, not least his finest film to date, "This Is England".
Set in the early 1980s, "This Is England" initially focuses on 12-year old Shaun (played by Thomas Turgoose, a real find), as he befriends a group of skinheads. Shaun bears the scars of the 80s, with his dad lost in the Falklands War, and his relationship with his new friends develops carefully across the first half of the film.
But it’s in the second half where "This Is England" soars. It’s not easy watching, as is the usual drill with Meadows’ best films, From a stunning tirade about the state of Britain, to moments of real unease and tension, it’s a terrific piece of cinema, and one destined to enjoy a healthy life on DVD. It’s also one that should, if there’s any justice, provide a major career springboard for its primarily unknown cast, and one that should get Meadows far more of the recognition he absolutely deserves.
Bluntly, not only is "This Is England" the best British film of the year. It’s a standout contender for the best film of 2007 full stop. It’s utterly superb, and it’d be remiss not to see it. --"Jon Foster"