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The Riot Club – Review


Release Date: 19th September 2014
Director: Lone Scherfig
Writer: Laura Wade [Play] - Laura Wade [Adapted Screenplay]
Cast: Sam Claflin - Max Irons - Douglas Booth - Jessica Brown Findlay - Max Irons



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Posted October 5, 2014 by

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The Riot Club Review:

There have been lots of reasons why I’ve been waiting with bated breath for The Riot Club to be released, many people would assume the main reason is Max Iron’s cheekbones and those people would indeed be correct. Not only this though, but The Riot Club‘s narrative focuses on that almost cartoonish elite stereotype, white, privileged men with both intelligence and money – forces to be reckoned with. The film did more than expose the ludicrous nature of their hoity-toity lives at Oxford University, all paid for by their trust funds, it exposed the darker side to a lifestyle in which money is power. The dark side to a very English fraternity that thrives off destruction and indeed, riots, whether this be sexual, violent or otherwise and their belief that the status and money that they have been born into, is a shield to their behaviour.

The film focuses on two fresh and beautifully chiselled faces, Max Irons and Sam Claflin; both born into money, but both share very different opinions about their status. Max, playing Milo, is a man of our modern society who shares the belief that all should be given the opportunity to succeed, despite their familial circumstance. Sam, who plays the much moodier Alistair, is a sibling in his brother’s legendary shadow and his disgust of the lower classes is violently terrifying. Milo is dating the wonderful Holliday Grainger who plays Lauren, a normal Lass from Up North who has to work to pay her way through University. Both Grainger and Irons share some tender moments and their relationship is believable, but similarly to John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink, the knowledge of each other’s social difference is always lingering between them.

The Riot Club‘s most powerful moment is at a formal dinner in which the members go from obnoxious snobs, to men who exert themselves over others around them. Claflin is the stand out for me, his vile nature oozes from him after every swallow of wine; his venom spreads through the other members of the group as he rallies them to believe that all those in the lower classes are envious scum, who will do anything for money and a taste of the high life. This combined with the engrained opinion that money can buy you anything you please, makes for truly uncomfortable viewing, as their gathering spirals desperately out of control. From hiring an Escort and expecting her to perform oral sex under the table to each of them in turn, to destroying a pub that belongs to man just trying to earn a living and to offering substantial money to Lauren to perform sex acts, as Milo watches silently.

Amidst this, the most unsettling moment for me comes in the form of the film’s finale. It is the moment I was expecting comeuppance for the posh vigilantes, but instead they remain unscathed; money is again at the forefront here, providing these men with the reassurance that they can do as they please because people around them will always succumb if they’re offered enough in compensation. The Riot Club is more than just a look into the lives of (truly) pretty boys with too much cash, it is a social examination of the classist system that still divides society and not so sbutly hints that the men who run our political system are but a stones throw away from the characters on screen.


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Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 19.50.36

Georgie Barron
Freelance Contributor


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