England Is Mine (2017)
Updated: Jul 31, 2019
Biopics are often tricky, do you cast someone in the lead who doesn’t look or sound like the subject, but can deliver the perfect character, or do you cast a lookalike, but one that struggles in their portrayal? Jack Lowden lands somewhere in between, which might well be a good thing and he does sound a bit like Morrissey. Katherine Pearce as Angie is very good too, one of many smaller roles who really helps drive this film. Style wise it’s gloriously bleak, overly poetic. Greasy spoon cafes, crackly record players, drab wallpaper and tank tops. Little details like rain drumming on single paned windows and remembering how wonderfully bloody loud that was. Depicting the young singers life, this covers the bedroom years of the late 70s, attacking the NME letters page, daydreaming and not fitting in with the humdrum of when Britain was great (it wasn’t). The details are stylised caricatures though, there’s no grit, it could almost pass for a comedy, albeit a dark one. The Pistols Free Trade Hall gig is one of the details that tries to anchor this in reality, but really this could be about any young aspiring writer or wannabe band member going about their lives as an exercise in awkwardness. One thing that certainly is great is the music, not Smiths of course, it predates that, but glam and scuzzy punk in scuzzy flats and 50s doo-wop... still in scuzzy flats. Every scene bathed in smoke and the haze of daylight dust. By in large it’s very enjoyable, Lowden is very watchable, the story shuffles along. As for accuracy... frankly who cares. A good yardstick with films like this is would you like to be in that world. The answer is emphatically yes!