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Firm, The


Stars: Calum MacNab, Paul Anderson, Daniel Mays, Billy Seymour, Ebony Gilbert, Eddie Webber, Camille Coduri

Director: Nick Love

Although given an additional frisson by recent events, this is at base yet another film about English football hooliganism in the 1980s, this one based on the daddy of them all, originally a TV drama in 1989. It's 1981 and impressionable teenager Dom (MacNab) tells his pal Terry (Seymour) that he 'can't be doing with breakdancing and fingering your little sister'.

His idol is Bex (Anderson), head honcho of the local football firm. Soon, Dom is dressing like him, and has joined the gang, who clash violently with rival crews at matches in the top English league.

Bex's most hated rival is Yeti (Mays), leader of another crew; Bex's recklessness in pursuing their feud leads to a humiliating rout, after which Bex vows vengeance.

Despite its routine scenario, this isn't at all bad and certainly a lot better than the director's previous film, Outlaw. Dom and his parents (Webber, Coduri) comes across as real people, although Anderson is insufficiently menacing to convince you he's the hard man the story wants us to believe in. Violence is comparatively kept in check, and the street-level dialogue has a genuine feel for the times.

David Quinlan

UK 2009. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers/Vertigo. Colour.
86 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

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

Review date: 12 Sep 2009