Manohla Dargis in the New York Times:
A soulful blast from the past sparked by heart and a throbbing beat, “This Is England” returns us to 1983, when Ronnie and Maggie ruled their roosts with Teflon finesse and an iron grip. The place is a quiet town where rude graffiti litter the walls and teenage skinheads loiter, dressed in jeans, Ben Sherman shirts and Doc Martens boots, looking for something, anything, to do. The Falklands War has just ended, but another battle simmers on the home front, fueled by unemployment, rage, nationalism and the old ennui.
A modest, near-flawless gem, “This Is England” is the fifth feature by the young British director Shane Meadows, doing his best work since he first hit the festival scene in the mid-1990s with his hilarious, raw-hewn shorts “Small Time” and “Where’s the Money, Ronnie?” Like most of his films the new one takes place in the East Midlands, in England’s midsection, where Nottingham and Derby are, and where Mr. Meadows was born and, in early adolescence, became a skinhead. By turns gentle and brutal, “This Is England” is a humbly, if insistently political, autobiographical homage to that lost world of youth as well as a lament for its hopes, pleasures and passionate camaraderie.
More here. [Thanks to Asad Raza.]