I always leave the cinema with thoughts and emotions, generally positive, but sometimes negative although I very rarely sit in my seat tensed up with anger. Riot Club made me angry and extremely uncomfortable. This feeling didn’t come out straight away as the film started out quite light hearted, jovial with a bit of harmless fun. It ended up with what can only be described as an action of pure evil, which left my stomach in turmoil. The fact that it did this shows how well these guys portrayed their different roles. That is really the only positive that I can take out of this film.
The basic story is of this famous and historic club made up of the elite of society and Oxford University. They all speak with the silver tongue, have lots of money and families who have the richest blue blood in their veins. They are men who act like spoilt boys, that don’t know how to socialise with anyone other than the rich. A life after uni will bring starched shirts, expensive suits and stuffy boardrooms, so they intend to live their uni life recklessly no matter what the consequence.
A new year comes in and the club only have 8 members and they have to have 10 to continue their tradition. Two rivals are chosen despite their differing views on life and in particular the working class. Miles comes from a very well to do family, but has a belief in equality and a great respect for the working class. He champions the welfare state believing it to be a great cause in improving the lives of the everyday man or woman. He falls for a northern girl who comes from the very class of people that he looks up to. He is a good man, however he is weak and cannot break away from his upbringing no matter how he tries. This leads to uncomfortable viewing when he observes rather than acts to stop what I can only describe as pure evil. He gets into the club of course after a rather disgusting initiation ceremony, but he soon learns that the club isn’t all that great.
The other is Alistaire who hates the poor, believing them to be the scourge of society and he of course is a superior being. His family history belongs to the riot club although you get the feeling that he doesn’t quite come up to scratch amongst the elite of his family. Firstly he studied at Harrow, which apparently isn’t quite up there with Eaton. His brother was an inspiration and great leader of the riot club, which is a shadow that Alistaire can’t quite move out from. He too is a weak human being meaning that he has to vent his power on those he sees as inferior. His mind set leads to the atrocity at the end.
The riot club have an annual dinner and choose a country pub because very few venues will take them and their outrageous behaviour. The two new men are pitted together in a drinking game which leaves them, shall we say, bladdered? The pub landlord is extremely excited about his guests and wants to make an impression. So much so, that all his other guests go by the way side. The evening soon leads to drunken debauchery, an offended prostitute and a northern girlfriend who soon realises how weak her boyfriend is. What comes next has been building all night as the guests abuse the staff and generally act in a disgusting manner. I will let you decide if you want to go to the cinema to see the rest, but I will give you this advice. If injustice, violence,cruelty, arrogance, self importance doesn’t effect you or you can take it as just a film then feel free to watch. I admit that I cannot watch films like this particularly easily and I can only relate my feelings about this film to the same feelings I felt when seeing A Clockwork Orange for the first time. Many would disagree with me on this, so don’t be put off by my views as the point of film is to divide and share.