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James Porter

Movie Review: The Riot Club.

Directed By: Lone Scherfig.

Starring: Sam Claflin, Max Irons, Douglas Booth and Tom Hollander.

Two first-year students at Oxford University join the infamous Riot Club, where reputations can be made or destroyed over the course of a single evening.

The Riot Club is an adaptation of the stage play simply called "Posh", in the movie we see more of a before and after whereas in the play, it gets straight into the meat of the film.

We begin by meeting two new students at Oxford University who through a matter of events are invited to join the infamous "Riot Club". Sam Claflin and Max Irons play the two fresh faced newcomers who are very good in the film in their respective roles. If there is a protagonist in the film it would certainly be Max Irons (The Host), he likes that he has been accepted into the club but doesn't necessarily agree with their views later on in the film. And our antagonist is certainly the very spoiled Alistair played remarkably well by Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), he seems to be rubbed the wrong way by less fortunate people which leads him to have very strong opinions about anyone less fortunate than him which ultimately leads to the acts seen in the second half of the film.

From the get go, we are leading up to the annual dinner at which "The Riot Club" causes all sort of mayhem. The first half is there to establish the characters and the personalities going into the second half and I was rather enjoying the first half, it felt quite light with an underlying darkness to it that would ultimately take center stage.

The Riot Club has been a film that I've been looking forward to for quite some time now, its trailer really impressed me so I had quite high hopes going into the film, yet I left feeling slightly disappointed. The film takes the same journey that the trailer does, it starts off light with some humor but ultimately goes to a very dark and violent place, but in the film, when everything goes wild, I was slightly put off.

The first half had got me invested in the inevitable mayhem that would ensue but once the film got to the that dark place, it lacked the bite and the edge that the trailer had promised. Some absolutely horrific and frankly disgusting things happen during the second half but the film felt like it was holding back slightly, it would attempt to go all the way a few times but it never got there. I really wanted the film to escalate to a horrifically nasty level but it just teeters on the edge of that level and never makes the final step.

The film did do a good job with its two main characters, Miles (Irons) who is more sympathetic and Alistair (Claflin) who is downright despicable but understandable. The juxtaposition and slight rivalry between these two characters was very well done. I was hoping for more than one sympathetic character though, I hated just about every single person in The Riot Club except Miles so I was always unsure on whether I was invested in the characters.

The cast do a very good job at portraying unlikable characters and I thought it was written fairly well, my issue with the film is that it doesn't go to the ultimate dark place that we were promised in the trailer and instead its unsure on what to do. I did like the film, I enjoyed it for the most part but it lacked the serious bite that I was hoping for.

Sam Claflin is a definite standout, he's excellent in the film and Tom Hollander (Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End) has a small role but it also very good in the film.

If you have a weak stomach than I would advise missing "The Riot Club", there is severe and extensive violence, attempted rape and some things talked about that even a prostitute frowned at in the film. I'm going to give "The Riot Club" a B!

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