We were lucky enough last night to see the new Shane Meadows film This is England, at the Tribeca Film Festival. Considering that my favourite film of all time is Meadows’ A Room for Romeo Brass, it was a real treat to see Shane and one of his brilliant team of actors, Andrew Shim, at the Q&A after the film.
This is England has a remarkably similar plotline to Romeo Brass – what happens when a sweet-natured kid on the brink of adolescence comes face to face with a surrogate father figure who’s inspiring and fun to begin with, but soon turns into a slightly crazed, unhinged, and violent nut-job. The new film’s portrayal of early 80s England is astonishingly real, and Meadows handles skinhead culture with real insight and sensitivity. It was weird watching it here in NYC – there were surprisingly few UK-specific jokes/lines in the script, except the very sharp Keith Chegwin reference near the beginning, so you could sense the whole crowd getting swept up in the film.
This is England is loveable, terrifying, and emotionally wrenching; also, it contains the best shoe store scene you will ever see. If this movie comes anywhere near your town, do try to see it.
Here’s a great clip, in which little Shaun starts his transformation into a skinhead…