This Is England (2006)

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Released 6-Dec-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Shane Meadows, Mark Herbert and Thomas Turgoose
Interviews-Crew-BFI Interview with Shane Meadows
Interviews-Crew-Mark Herbert (Producer)
Interviews-Crew-Production Designer, Mark Leese
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Hair, Makeup and Costume
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-A behind-the-scenes look at four key scenes
Deleted Scenes-Seven deleted scenes
Teaser Trailer-Madman Propaganda
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 98:01
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Shane Meadows
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Thomas Turgoose
Stephen Graham
Jo Hartley
Andrew Shim
Vicky McClure
Joseph Gilgun
Andrew Ellis
Perry Benson
George Newton
Frank Harper
Jack O'Connell
Kriss Dosanjh
Kieran Hardcastle
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $29.95 Music Ludovico Einaudi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Of the current generation of British filmmakers, Shane Meadows is without a doubt one of the most provocative and forthright. His films can be gut-wrenching experiences, but they can also challenge an audience on an emotional level; anyone who has seen his 2004 film, Dead Man's Shoes, can testify to this.

    This Is England is a very personal film for Meadows. Much of the story is based on his own association with skinhead gangs in the early eighties. An incredible degree of authenticity has been achieved not only through excellent production design, makeup and costumes, but also the clever use of stock footage and music from the period.

    The film opens with a montage of stock footage relating to the Thatcher era and in particular, the war in the Falklands. This immediately sets the mood for the film and establishes an atmosphere of conflict and uncertainty.

    Twelve-year-old Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) lives with his mother, Cynthia (Jo Hartley), in the Midlands of England. Shaun is trying to deal with the tragic death of his father in the Falklands war, while enduring the constant torments of school bullies. After a somewhat eventful last day of term, Shaun is walking home alone when he encounters a small group of skinheads. The group's leader, Woody (Joe Gilgun), takes an immediate shine to Shaun and offers to help him out with his school bully problem.

     In time, Shaun meets the larger group and because of his young age, becomes a very popular member. The group provides him with the fatherly guidance and security that he craves, however Cynthia has something to say when Shaun arrives home two hours late with his head shaved. In a wonderful scene, she courageously confronts the gang at a local café and lays down some ground rules.

    The contentment of the group is suddenly interrupted by the return of Combo (Stephen Graham) after a three and a half year stint in prison. Combo took the wrap for Woody years before, and immediately resumes a commanding role within the gang, but his time in prison has also realigned his social and political stance. Combo lectures the group on what he hopes will be their next phase, following the radical principals of the National Front movement. However, his desire to have everyone involved in this racial hatred ends up splitting the group. Woody and others opt to stay with their current carefree lifestyle and leave Combo to form his own band of brothers. Young Shaun chooses the radical path after Combo instills in him a sense of misplaced patriotism.

    Combo sees great promise in Shaun and treats him as a son, offering him his undying support and loyalty. As the nurturing of racial hatred continues, Shaun is unexpectedly confronted with a situation that seriously questions the moral issue of living this divisive and violent lifestyle. At his young age, Shaun takes a mature assessment of his life and of those who seek to nurture him.

    This Is England is widely regarded as Shane Meadow's best film to date, and with good reason. Performances from the entire cast are first rate, especially Stephen Graham and Thomas Turgoose, who in his first film role, is something of a revelation. Shane Meadows dedicated this film to the memory of Sharon Turgoose (Thomas' mother), who passed away in 2005.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is 16x9 enhanced. The correct aspect ratio for This Is England is 1.85:1.

    The video transfer is excellent and doesn't present with any significant issues. The transfer displays a very good degree of sharpness and clarity. Apart from the stock footage, which has a totally different texture, the film occasionally exhibited a slightly soft appearance, which is almost certainly consistent with the original source material. Blacks were clean and shadow detail was of a high standard.

    Plenty of vibrant colours are used in the film. They appeared nicely balanced and natural, with no over-saturation issues.

    There were no MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts didn't present with anything of significance and film artefacts were non-existent.

    English subtitles are available on the DVD. They are easily legible in bold yellow and appear to be very accurate.

    Both discs are single sided, dual layer DVD's. The layer change on the first disc (film disc) occurs at 49:31 and was easily noticed.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three audio tracks on the DVD, English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    The audio transfer is well suited to the content of the film. Even with some heavy accents, dialogue quality was generally outstanding.

    Audio sync also appeared to be very accurate.

    The original music by Ludovico Einaudi is a beautifully poignant score. This piano based score has been integrated incredibly well to heighten the emotional impact of many key moments in the film. It also contrasts well against the more upbeat, non-original music from the early eighties. The non-original music is provided by various bands including, Toots & The Maytals, The Specials, Soft Cell, Percy Sledge and Dexy's Midnight Runners.

    Apart from the music passages, surround usage was quite understated. Some very effective background noise was apparent during the schoolyard scene early in the film. However, This Is England is basically a dialogue-driven film, so most of the surround sound that relates to the action is ambient effect.

    The subwoofer was kept quite busy throughout the film. Music was the main culprit; in particular, the heavy reggae beat of Toots & The Maytals.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This two-disc presentation is loaded with quality extras, which compliment the film.

Menu

    The main menu is animated, is 16x9 enhanced and features a sample of reggae music used in the film.

Disc One: 

Audio Commentary - Shane Meadows (Director), Mark Herbert (Producer) and Thomas Turgoose (Actor

    A very low key, but highly entertaining and informative commentary. Shane, Mark and Thomas all share a joke while relaying many anecdotes about the production. Plenty of insight is given into the making of the film, including the wonderful use of original and non-original music and the many interesting cameo roles. Occasionally the trio drift off the topic, but it's still definitely worth a listen.

Disc Two:

Interviews

Guardian Interview At BFI Southbank with Shane Meadows - Interviewed By Jason Wood (48:43)

   Similar to our Popcorn Taxi forums, this casual style interview was filmed in a cinema, in front of an audience. This Q & A session was filmed around the time that This Is England was first released in British cinemas. Jason Wood talks one on one with Shane Meadows about his life and filmmaking career. Later in the forum, Shane takes questions from the audience.

Mark Herbert  (11:21)

    Producer Mark Herbert discusses This Is England. This short piece includes behind-the-scenes footage and some brief footage from the successful screening in Rome.

Hair, Makeup and Costume (33:19)

    This very funny extra features Shane Meadows overseeing the radical skinhead hairstyles of his cast. Each cast member takes their turn in the chair, with many of the girls horrified as their beautiful, long flowing hair gets closely cropped. We then see the makeup and costumes for certain cast members, including all of those important tattoos.

Production Design (9:48)

    Production Designer Mark Leese discusses his work on the film, including sets and the collection of props from the period.

Behind The Scenes

    This brilliant collection of segments features a behind-the-scenes look at some of the key scenes in the film. Each segment shows cast rehearsals and crew preparation for shooting each of the scenes. These four pieces are really fascinating and make compulsory viewing for fans of the film.

  • Combo's Flat (8:49)
  • Shaun's Haircut (5:51)
  • Party Scene (8:38)
  • Newsagent Raid (8:36)

    Deleted Scenes

        A collection of seven scenes that didn't make the final cut. Each scene can be played individually, or you can select the "play all" function.

  • Outside The Chip Shop (1:10)
  • Shaun Sees The Headmaster (0:50)
  • Meggy & Shaun At The Arcade (1:11)
  • Cynth Meets Smell  (0:48)
  • Miky & Combo Score Some Weed (1:22)
  • Shaun & Combo At The Docks  (3:49)
  • Alternative Ending (1:23)

    Madman Propaganda

  • Love + Hate (2:05)
  • Paris, je t'aime (2:30)
  • Noise (2:16)
  • Amazing Grace (2:33)

    R4 vs R1

    NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

        There is an R1 edition of This Is England that was released in November 2007. This edition is a single DVD issue with basic extras, including the same audio commentary, theatrical trailer, a short interview with Shane Meadows and Mark Herbert, the seven deleted scenes and two essays by Darrell Buxton.

        Another comparison with this R4 version is the UK, R2 edition, released by Optimum Home Entertainment in September 2007. The R2 edition is also a two-disc presentation, which as far as I can tell has the same set of extras as this local R4 edition. The exception being the R2 edition has the addition of two essays and bios.

        With both two-disc editions being so similar, I can see no reason to look past this Madman R4 release.

    Summary

        This Is England is an engrossing film about a boy's search for acceptance after the tragic death of his father. True to his style, writer/director Shane Meadows pulls no punches, so people may find certain scenes in the film quite confronting. Regardless of that, This Is England is still an essential experience.

        The video and audio transfers are both excellent.

        The selection of extras delivers the goods and compliments the presentation of the film exceptionally well.

         
     

  • Ratings (out of 5)

    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    Plot
    Overall

    © Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
    Thursday, January 24, 2008
    Review Equipment
    DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
    DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
    Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
    AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
    SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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