After a summer of big American blockbusters, it’s a nice change to see some smaller, British films being released at the cinema recently. There’s the comedy-drama Pride, which won at the Cannes Film Festival, and of course the box-office-smashing Inbetweeners Movie 2. I opted to watch The Riot Club, an adaptation of Laura Wade’s play Posh.
The film is about the titular and fictitious – although allegedly based on the ‘Bullingdon Club’, of which David Cameron and Boris Johnson were former members of – ‘Riot Club’, a group of ten posh Oxford students who engage in heavy drinking and criminal damage. This most often leads to, as one of the main characters puts it, a “chunderstorm”.
It’s certainly a compelling watch which can be humorous at times and gravely emotional at others. It definitely can’t be categorised as an outright comedy or an outright drama, though couldn’t help but think it shared similar themes to a posh version of The Wolf of Wall Street and an even posher version of The Inbetweeners.
However, at no point does it seem tacky or shoddy. It doesn’t fall into the trap of stereotyping the ‘toffs’ that make up the main cast – each character is well-though-out and has varying personality traits. Perhaps the inclusion of Miles – the reluctant and most empathetic of the members – helps drag the film back down into reality somewhat.
This, along with faultless acting from the ensemble cast, helps the audience relate to the characters and become more engrossed in the film, making its climax seem even more shocking and outrageous. Without giving too much of the plot away, you certainly feel a lot of sympathy for the loveable but poor pub owner, of which the group target.
In fact my only criticism would be the ending, which in my opinion doesn’t really offer full closure, or even tie up some of the loose ends that the plot created. Or maybe I’ve come to expect typical Hollywood endings after watching so many movies from across the pond. Either way, The Riot Club is still an excellent watch, and one that I know will stick in my mind for a while.
My rating: 8/10
Imdb average: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%