Friday, 5 February 2010

The Firm - DVD - 5/2/10

Nick Love isn't a particularly gifted film-maker.

I appreciate that's a bit rich coming from someone who has never made a film.

It's like the eunuch in the harem passing comment on the technique of the master.

Still, we're all entitled to an opinion.

This is a tecnicolour reboot of Alan Clarkes 1988 film of the same name. A story of football hooligans...casuals and the seemingly mindless violence that they revel in.

Clarkes film was dark and in Gary Oldman had an actor who possessed a genuine sense of madness which was crucial to believing the mayhem he created as leader of a "firm" of football casuals in London.

Loves film is more like an overlong "I Love the 1980's" show...casting knowing and ironic nods in the direction of the music, the make-up and the hair of the decade but never really convincing in the only area that matters to this story; the violence.

From the Teddy Boys to the Mods to the Skinheads British working class teenage males have generated subcultures that revel in clothes, music and violence to bring meaning to empty and hopeless lives. For the Teddy Boys it was the despair of the post-war years, for the Mods it was a rebellion against the class system and the joy of the new wealth the 1960s brought, for the Skinheads it was open warfare against the peace and love of the late 1960s that hadn't succeeded in changing anything and the awful realisation that once again hope had been replaced with hopelessness.

Where the casuals differed was in the fact that many of them were reaping the rewards of Thatchers Britain...home-owners, well paid jobs, cars; they had it all where many of there predecessors had had nothing. Despite that something was missing, there was a hole in their lives and they chose to fill it with violence on a grand scale.

Love never really probes the big question of why here, instead choosing to focus on how well dressed the casuals were and attempting, like so many others, to glamourise the violence of the terraces before tagging on a morality lesson at the end that you know he didn't want to put in and that he doesn't believe.

"The Firm" looks good, but just like the casuals its all surface and no feeling.

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