This Is England

Director: Shane Meadows
Year Released: 2006
Rating: 2.5

A wayward lad (who lost his Dad in The Falklands War) - played with palpable sadness by newcomer Thomas Turgoose - turns to local skinheads for friendship and role models, ending up under the direct supervision of an unhinged nationalist-slash-surrogate Father (a truly frightening Stephen Graham). The performances resonate even when the story more or less fizzles out in the third act (it neglects to properly conclude the characters' narratives and it feels as if crucial scenes are missing), and the feeling of hopelessness and anger at the perceived unraveling of the country is handled skillfully by Meadows (who based it partially on his own life). Ken Loach's downbeat films and other pictures of working class life - like Gary Oldman's Nil by Mouth and Alan Clarke's BBC movies - certainly had an influence on this.