This Is England ★★★★½

Well, THIS IS ENGLAND just threw a massive wrench into my 2007 Retrospective prep and possibly my Top 10 for that year. I loved this film. For all of the offensive and abrasive notions these characters embody, the film is equally as sincere and earnest in depicting the love they have for each other. Their morals and ethics are certainly debatable, but the unity and care they emulate toward each other is undeniable, and the way Shane Meadows captures all of this in his direction is remarkably poignant.

Perhaps what I loved most about this film, underneath its layers of nationalism and pride of one's country, is the fundamental roots of fatherhood and how the absence of a father has profound ramifications. It's exactly this idea that bonds Shaun and Combo, in which the latter becomes a surrogate father of sorts, a role he embraced wholeheartedly. Where that leads Shaun is certainly arduous at times, but where it leads Combo is even more complicated. And Stephen Graham's performances is astounding in how you're able to see Cosmos's pain - how the lack of a father truly affected him - all without any exposition on that character.

I was floored by this film. Please go see it ASAP.