If you ask a group of people who their favourite band of all time is, it’s likely that a fair few will respond with ‘The Smiths’. Whilst Morrissey is now a sad parody of his former self, there’s no denying that, regardless of your thoughts on the man, they produced some cracking songs. Indeed, there’s no doubting that Morrissey was one of the most eloquent and intelligent lyricists of his generation. Mark Gill’s film England is Mine charts his early years.
Steven Patrick Morrissey (Jack Lowden) is an introvert who is too shy/picky to join a band and enjoys showing his disdain for most music by penning pithy critiques to the NME. He spends His days being bored at the Inland Revenue and his nights either lurking in the shadows at the back of gigs or on his typewriter. When he meets Linder (Jessica Brown Findlay), an artist, she forces him to broaden his horizons. However, he’s still reluctant to take that final step.
England is Mine is a lyrical portrait of one of Britain’s greatest living musicians. Instead of aiming for glitz and glamour, Gill channels the man himself and paints a dreamy, damp and depressing 1970s Manchester. It’s beautifully shot; revelling in the downbeat and lowkey atmosphere using different shades of grey. Lowden is superb as Morrissey, personifying a shy and reclusive figure who only comes to life when on the stage. England is Mine is a quiet, yet absorbing, portrait of an often infuriatingly unique persona.
England is Mine is released on DVD by Entertainment One on 4 December.