I watched Shane Meadows' "This is England" last night and shuddered at the brutality of some members of the National Front (BNP). The film started off somewhat lightheartedly, despite being punctuated by newsreel from the Falklands War, and showing how 12-year-old Shaun fell in with a group of adult skinheads led by Woody (I had to laugh at Woody's impression of Harvey, who'd been in a fight with Shaun on the last day of term).
So Shaun seems to be enjoying himself. But then everything takes a particularly dark turn when xenophobic nationalist Combo comes on to the scene and literally brainwashes Shaun into thinking that everyone with coloured skin is, well, pretty much evil - a view I detest entirely. Shaun becomes more aggressive and adopts Combo's view of the world, which is terrifying considering how young he is meant to be in the film. Luckily a terrible event helps him to open his eyes and Shaun eventually casts off his belief, to my relief.
The film was given a rating of 18, but I really don't think that it's that bad. There is a lot of language that is deemed as offensive by some but there isn't too much violence in it at all, only at the end really. It could be suggested that it should be shown to 15 and 16 year old schoolchildren to show them that showing just how wrong it is to be a nationalist - support your football team by all means, but these radical views are really not on!
Of course, there would be a lot of kids out there who would probably watch "This is England" and admire Combo and his stance on life. Certainly in my town there is a lot of xenophobia and this film would only help to glamorise these kinds of views. That can't be good for anyone, and I wouldn't stand for it. Perhaps showing it to kids wouldn't be such a good idea after all.