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Riot Club, The (DQ)


Stars: Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Jessica Brown Findlay, Michael Jibson, Douglas Booth, Olly Alexander, Sam Reid, Freddie Fox, Tom Hollander, Ben Schnetzer, Matthew Beard

Director: Lone Scherfig

This is a nasty little number and no mistake. Preposterous too: I not only hated the film but didn't believe a word of its latter stages. Based on a successful West End play, it focuses on a cabal of 10 (male) Oxford University students (from such 'posh' schools as Eton and Harrow), whose 'Riot' club is dedicated to debauchery raised to a fine art. 'There are some people,' leers one member, 'who think they're here to get a degree.'

The plot reaches its apogee when the club holds a dinner in a plush back room at a local pub, where, when drunk on wine and high on cocaine, they proceed to trash the place, ripping up walls, vomiting freely and smashing everything breakable in sight.

Finally, in a nightmare scenario instigated by Alistair Ryle (Claflin), the rottenest apple in a very smelly barrel, they beat the landlord (Jibson) to within an inch of his life.

The ending implies that a smart lawyer will get Ryle off, which is plainly ridiculous, since his victim, to say nothing of his daughter (Brown Findlay), can identify all 10 students who took him and his premises apart.

Characters are stereotyped and performances are so broad as to be within spitting distance of a Monty Python sketch. Sole exception is Grainger as the north country girl who lights student Irons' fire, but is subsequently humiliated by his friends.

David Quinlan

UK 2014. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor.
107 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 15 Sep 2014