Monday, 5 March 2012

The 8 Words of Ash – This Is England

Back in 1986 I had just started senior school, the world cup in Mexico was the only socio-political thing in my tiny sphere of understanding and the most pressing issue in my world was explaining to my dad that “wearing your school tie with the thin end at the front was the only way to wear a tie these days you silly old square!” Ashley has been watching something that brings all that right into our 21st century living rooms, here’s his take on it.

This Is England - A fair portrait of our Country, shocking stuff!

This Is England '86 - Further followings, just as horrifying as the original!

This Is England '88 - Kinda lost it this time - lacked punch + impact . . .

We’ve ignored the fact that Ashley has technically merged two words into one there, to make kinda in order to stick to his 8-Word remit, and we’ve decided to allow it, but what’s he talking about?

Well, This Is England is filmmaker Shane Meadows attempt to dramatise the 1980s, the first effort is a look at the grim reality of life in Britain under Thatcher and Meadows draws on the experiences of his own childhood to set the tale. Essentially it’s a story of belonging, or trying to find a place to fit in, in a desolate world that doesn’t seem to want you to do that.

It all goes to show that the 1980’s weren’t all Duran Duran high-chic videos on racing yachts but in reality for most people it was a time of concrete harshness and alienation. This Is England was actually a feature film and gets very good ratings on IMDb, it scores an average of 7.8 out of 10 and also received critical acclaim for its nod towards realism and its gritty dramatic storyline.

Then that was followed by the 4-part television series This Is England 86, which originally aired in 2010, and in 2011 by This Is England 88, which ran for only three episodes and which have also gained critical acclaim and very good audience figures, especially for a drama that went out well after the watershed and is fairly gritty and probably not fun for the entire family.

This Is England is available from Amazon for a very reasonable £3.39, or the two-disc edition with some extra nonsense on the 2nd disc is available for £6.49.

A This Is England 86 series boxset will set you back £9.27 (or £9.99 on Blue-ray) and This Is England 88 boxset arrives on shelves in shops, and is available to pre-order now ahead of it’s release, on 12th March 2012 for £11.99. The Blue-ray version comes in a bit pricier at £14.99 if you’ve got one of those new fangled machines instead. Also out on the 12th of March is a double This Is England 86 & 88 series mega-boxset which is also pre-orderable and which will set you back £17.99, which is a saving of £3.27 if you were to buy the two boxsets individually, so if you want to see both get that.

If you like the sound of Shane Meadows and want to see a bit more of his cinematic outpourings you could buy a boxset of four of his movies, which includes This Is England, and three more films (Twenty Four Seven, A Room For Romeo Brass and Dead Man’s Shoes) for £13.47 and it won’t take up much more room in your DVD cabinet.

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