30 April 2007 | garynorton
Superb Documentary-style film drama
A snippet of life in 1983- told through the eyes of an impressionable 12 year old-against the back-drop of the Falklands War.
This film shows Director Shane Meadows at his best, a new generation Mike Leigh/Ken Loach. Gritty, ultra-real story telling (not least because it reflects time and events from Meadows own childhood.
From the outside this movie might look like an all out "Doom and Gloom" exercise (akin to Nil By Mouth?), but it is so much more! It has a great sense of love and nostalgia for the time and place-not too mention the Skinhead culture. However, it also shows how the initially innocent fashion trend of the Skinhead- which came from the "Mods" and "Ska" music scene- was twisted and subverted by a racist element from within. Fashioning a striking look (near bald heads with imposing Dr Martin boots) a perfect foil for those wanting to make a clear impression of aggression for the National Front.
Performances are great- Turgoose as the young fatherless lonely boy- searching for someone to lead the way. Special mention to Stephen Graham as the aggressive, neo-Nazi, Combo. He is a horribly violent man, but played with such depth by Graham, you can see he has his own issues which have destroyed him. Ultimately, he is the saddest and most tragic of all the characters in it.Graham's is an Oscar/Bafta performance if ever there was one! Summary- A brilliant slice of life from the 80's reconstructed with love , affection, humour and a dash of "Venom"- eat your heart out "Spideyman"!