The Riot Club

"Good"

The Riot Club Review


Solid acting and adept filmmaking help make up for the fact that this film asks us to spend a couple of hours in the presence of a group of truly despicable characters. They're played by some of the brightest (and most beautiful) rising stars in the movies at the moment, but each one of these young men is vile to the core. So the fact that these are supposed to be Britain's brightest and best hope for the future makes the film pretty terrifying.

It's set at Oxford University, where the elite Riot Club (including Douglas Booth, Sam Reid, Freddie Fox, Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer and Olly Alexander) are on the lookout for wealthy white students to complete their 10-man membership. They find suitable candidates in new arrivals: the sneering Alistair (Sam Claflin) and conflicted Miles (Max Irons), whose one drawback is that he's seeing a common girl (Holliday Grainger). After the rigorous initiation process, Alistair and Miles are welcomed to the hedonistic gang at a lavish dinner in the private room of a country pub. But things turn nasty as they drunkenly hurl abuse at the pub manager (Gordon Brown), his daughter (Jessica Brown Findlay) and a high-class hooker (Natalie Dormer) they hire for the night.

Based on the play Posh by screenwriter Laura Wade, the film is centred around this increasingly chaotic dinner party. Although nothing that happens is particularly surprising, because these young men are such relentlessly bigoted, misogynist snobs that it's impossible to believe they belong anywhere other than prison. They certainly don't deserve their self-appointed status as the top students at Oxford, who are getting debauchery out of their systems before taking the lead in British politics and business. But then, that's precisely Wade's point, and she makes it loudly. Thankfully, director Lone Scherfig balances things by offering glimpses into these young men's dark souls while skilfully capturing the old-world subculture and a strong sense of irony.

Even so, watching their behaviour is fairly unbearable. All of these guys are so reprehensible that we can hardly stand to be in their presence. Miles is supposed to be the only one with a conscience, but he's not much better than the rest. Irons is solid in the role, and develops some terrific chemistry with Grainger, while Claflin tears up the scenery as the relentlessly bitter Alistair. His loathing for Miles never quite makes sense, which leaves the story's few plot points feeling deeply implausible. But all of the actors do a great job creating characters bereft of even a hint of human decency. That Britain's future could be in the privileged hands of students like this is seriously chilling.



The Riot Club

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th September 2014

Production compaines: Blueprint Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Peter Czernin

Starring: as Charlie, as Alistair, Jessica Brown Findlay as Rachel, as Miles, as Harry Villiers, as Lauren, as Hugo Fraser-Tyrwhitt, as Jeremy, as Toby Maitland, as Dimitri Mitropoulos

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