It’s 1983 and lonely 12-year-old Thomas Turgoose is befriended by a skinhead gang.
He’s coming to terms with his dad’s death in the Falklands War and finds a sense of belonging with his new friends.
However, that sense of togetherness is poisoned when leader Joe Gilgun’s old pal Stephen Graham gets out of jail. He’s a rascist trouble-maker and soon has the kid as one of his followers.
Writer-director Shane Meadows has an eye and ear for the shabby contours of ordinary life which is unsurpassed in modern British film-making.
The dialogue, locations and performances are all utterly convincing – in his screen debut, Turgoose is astonishing and is matched by the rest of the cast.
The movie has a serious message, but it’s also very funny – the sight of the pint-sized Turgoose in his smart Crombie coat and with a girlfriend who’s at least a foot taller than him is both charming and utterly hilarious.
This rough, raw and real British movie is a benchmark for brilliant, controversial film-making.