Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 310: Thu Nov 10

The Firm (Clarke, 1989): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 9pm

This film in the Gary Oldman season also screens on November 2nd. Details here.

Starburst review:
What The Firm does so well is, not only does it explore the notion of hooliganism itself, it also serves as an insight into Thatcher’s Britain and all that it encompassed. At that time, hope was at a minimum, and so certain people would seek to get some sort of a pep in their step by smashing the face in of a rival football fan. Simple? Yes. Savage? Yes. Bleak? Yes. But that’s the point of The Firm; it highlights the tribalism and belonging that was craved by so many with little to hold onto or look forward to. Even when things take a turn for the worst – as ever with these things – those involved still somehow manage to flip that into yet another cause to go out cracking skulls over. The ’80s was a depressing time for many, and Clarke used that bleakness to perfection here as these everyday sorts crave some form of buzz, with Gary Oldman delivering one of his most impressive performances ever (which is quite the statement in itself). The Firm may be outdone by the likes of The Football Factory and Green Street when it comes to the brutal violence that’s draped over such tales – truth be told, the actual fight scenes in The Firm look terribly outdated and poorly choreographed – but Clarke’s film is so much more than any of its contemporaries even though it was released over 25 years ago. To this day, The Firm remains the finest exploration and examination of football hooliganism, yet still manages to be far more than simply the sum of its parts.
Andrew Pollard

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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