Film Reviews,

The Firm

Friday, September 01, 2006 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

The Firm (1988)
Plot Summary: This is the story of rival "Firms" of football (soccer) supporters, and how one man has a wish too team them up for the European Championships of 1988. However, when this is discussed, the opposing leaders, are not happy as the believe this is a challenge to their authority. This Film shows how football violence has progressed from pure violence to a form of organised crime, to the extent that all the leaders know each others home phone / mobile phone numbers.

I recently saw Green Street starring Elijah Wood (Plot Outline: Frodo a wrongfully expelled Harvard undergrad, moves to London, where he is introduced to the violent underworld of soccer hooliganism. AKA: Green Street Hooligans or Hooligans).

While browsing the web for info on the film (post viewing) it became apparent that to see a more realistic interpretation of the football hooligan lifestyle, The Firm is recommended. Made in 1988 for TV the film plots the inevitable decline of street fighting man Bex Bissell played by Gary Oldman. Bex is an Estate Agent by day and leader of a firm by night.

It was interesting to see Oldman in a his relatively pre fame , read OTT, performance. He eats the screen up as do the rest of the cast. Oldman seems to play Bex as part Travis Bickle and part, well Gary Oldman. This characterisation seems to be the template for all his future insane roles.

This is not typically the kind of film I would watch British films from this period are a little to gritty and dark (both in lighting as well as mood).

Oldman a fan of the Stanislavsky method, was at the time married to, and had a child with, Lesley Manville the actor/ess to play his wife and mother of his child in The Firm.

The Director Alan Clarke has a career spanning the 60's,70's & 80's. He passed in 1990. He seems to have specialised in TV movies and was possibly master of the gritty, made for TV, British working class underworld tales. His credits include almost every film of this type such as; Elephant, The Firm, Christine, Made in Britain & Scum. His 32 film career includes Road & Rita, Sue and Bob Too.

What's good: Performances
What's bad: Lighting and low production value or maybe this adds to the grittiness of the subject matter.
In the end: Interesting to watch if you are a hooligan or a celluloid/Oldman aficionado.