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Stars: Nonso Anozie, Nathalie Press, Tamer Hassan, Linda Bassett, Peter Wight, Paul Kaye, Leo Gregory, Gavin Brocker, Robbie Gee

Director: Jon S Baird

Football hooliganism again but here, despite an avalanche of four-letter words, in more approachable guise. In the early 1980s, Cass Pennant (Anozie), a giant of a black man adopted by middle-aged white folk (Bassett, Wight), became 'the world's firsrt celebrity football thug' when jailed for four years following the demolition of a Newcastle nightclub and its occupants by a group of cudgel-wielding West Ham 'fans'. The offenders had gone there to establish their claim as the hardest football 'firm' over those of rival bruisers at Chelsea.

Ten years later, Cass, now a 'director of doormen' at a string of South London clubs, is shot down by Arsenal 'supporters' he'd previously beaten up. This, and the death of his adoptive mother, are the lowpoints of a life that the film surveys with all its warts (the real-life Cass reformed in the 1990s and has written eight books).

Director Baird packs a lot into his (still rather long) film, and his narrative is fluent and persuasive in spite of its persistent and sickening violence.

David Quinlan

UK 2008. UK Distributor: Optimum. Colour.
108 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 26 Jul 2008