In this thesis I argue that This is England (2007) establishes a perspective on the fragmented state of national identity in contemporary Britain.
This fragmentation is related to changing notions of white, heteromasculine hegemony faced with the infiltration of the Other into postcolonial Britain.
“Combo admits as much himself when he attempts to befriend the only black member of Woody’s gang… When Milky begins to talk about his extended family, Combo’s eyes well-up.
Half-ashamed, half-envious of what he misses most.” This Is England offers insights and empathy for Combo as a character.
“He got me into reggae, and took me out hunting in big gangs. Whereas with the first skinhead it was all parties and fun, this other guy was the one who had been to prison and came in with a much darker, political idea.” In the film, this is where Graham’s complex ex-convict Combo comes in.
Anger and pain are being turned outwards and aimed at innocent people, for no other reason than they look different.
It is only at the film’s end, with Combo’s outpouring of violent rage at Milky, that Shaun realises the sheer horror of the world he has entered.
This invites further scholarship on the implications of contemporary identity fragmentation as the "imagined communities" of nations becomes increasingly indefinable.
As commentaries on the hollow, bitter reality of racism go, Shane Meadows’ blistering 2007 film This Is England remains hard to beat.