Directed by late British television director Alan Clarke (Scum, The Firm), Made In Britain is a tough and uncompromising character study of an oppressed, glue-sniffing skinhead, named Trevor (played by Tim Roth).
Tapping into the social apathy and anger of Thatcher’s children in the 1980s, Clarke expertly focuses upon one man, a product of right-wing and suppressive society, as he robs cars, throws bricks through the windows of Asians, and even picks fights with the local canteen chef regarding the time lunch is served — generally refusing conform to any established authority.
Clarke decides to keep things simple, stylistically, allowing Roth to make his mark onscreen in often long, drawn out scenes so that we are able to analyse his character.
Trevor is racist, utterly selfish, and dangerous to anyone who crosses his path that he really makes us contemplate the state of Britain during Thatcher’s reign. We don’t sympathise with his disgusting behaviour, but we do begin to sense that the county has descended into darkness, with high unemployment and crime rates, from the aggressive, yet intelligent, outbursts written for him by David Leland.
Undoubtedly, this is Roth’s film, and he makes a statement against the policies of Thatcher’s Britain and the effect that they had upon the human mind.
We see the fire in his eyes every time he’s on the screen. His young character appears unable to keep his emotions under control, fiercely venting his frustrations towards the authorities in power at every given opportunity. He’s totally alienated and paranoid, believing everyone and everything around him is corrupt, and strives to fight back. “It’s your fucking world, mate, not mine. You can stick it up your arse, I dont want it!” he says to the patronising social workers from the confinement of a detention cell, with a spiteful and cynical look upon his face.
The film doesn’t have an ending in the conventional sense, which may feel a little unsatisfying, but it does at least leave the viewer contemplating the seemingly-endless amount of hate crimes around the country. Following recent racial tensions, particularly within the North of England, the film’s topic seems just as relevant today as it was back then. That’s a testament to the overall power of Clarke’s film, as well as being a rather worrying statement reflecting the rise of Islamic extremism and the British National Party.