Review: This is English

Directed by Joe Beverley and Samuel Hurlock, written by Liam Wilson, a group of grammar enthusiasts wage a war on misspelled words, with an unexpectedly violent vocabulary. Starring: Jack Doolan, David Schaal, Harry Sherriff, Dean Kilbey, Nick Pearse, Donna Preston, Paul Dewdney, Amer Chadha-Patel, Jerome Dowling, Ben Higgs and Maria Hildebrand.

If ever there were a group of people to slide smoothly into a parody, racist British nationalists are one that certainly needs no grease but taking that then giving it the added direction of focusing their hate on people with bad grammar kicks it up a few levels. Jumping right into the jibes at the EDL and their contemporaries then quickly swinging out into being grammar police, is a combination that is not complicated but not many people would have thought of it and it’s a delicious recipe. It works so smoothly because it redirects the racist, unjustified hate and targets something that a lot of people can relate to, misused apostrophes. It of course takes it to a different level than simply the passive-aggressive quote tweet or reply on Twitter, but the concept is extremely well thought out and works brilliantly right from the start.

A lot of the aspects of this film hit it out of the park but without doubt the writing has to be at the top, it’s firing on all cylinders to bring audiences something that’s funny from beginning to end. There’s a fantastic number of one-liners and jokes that feel like classic British humour, balancing silly with sarcastic and satire, it does it impeccably well and it almost feels in a similar vein in its style to Hot Fuzz. The direction and editing similarly hit the right notes, they work efficiently to boost that humour and enhance it, both of which are incredibly smooth yet have a good bite to push the comedy as far as it can go.

All of those elements couldn’t come together without a solid cast and that’s exactly what they have, lead Jack Doolan (Marcella, White Gold) was a piece of perfect casting. Doolan brilliantly balances the personality of Clive, he’s smart but naïve and lacking the stronger back bone required of leading such a group, it’s a very compelling combination to add to the fact that he’s hilarious. It’s genuinely impressive that Doolan, and the cast in general, managed to keep straight faces with this hugely funny dialogue, but they are all irreproachable in keeping their cool. Although Doolan certainly takes a lot of the limelight here and justifiably so, it’s really an ensemble piece because there’s no weak link in this chain and every one of them has something to add, no matter how many lines they have.

Now is certainly a time when the more ridiculous side of this group of far-right bald-headed bigots has come out yet again with their statue protective league, so it’s a great moment to watch this film. If you’re someone whose teeth are set on edge by a misplaced apostrophe or use of the incorrect phrase ‘escape goat’, then this film will be extra enjoyable for you but really, it would be surprising if anyone didn’t have a great time. This film is a triple threat, it’s funny as hell, it takes aim at a reprehensible group of people and it promotes education, something you don’t often say about a comedy short. This is an impressive piece of work, it’s brilliantly done and a bloody fantastic way to spend 10-minutes.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯✯

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