The Riot Club (UK/2014)
UK Release by Universal Pictures International – 19th September 2014
Directed by Lone Scherfig
Brief Synopsis: It is all about reputation and worth in this destructive depiction of two first-year students at Oxford University falling under hard times.
It is almost an edge of your seat thriller, but perhaps for all the wrong reasons. I moaned, clutched my churning stomach and even felt like spitting across the room at one point (in disgust that is). There was even the occasional glance down at my watch, never a good sign. Yet, this is certainly evidence of Lone Scherfig provoking a significant response, for the actions are fatally immoral, preposterous, and unfortunately, pretty funny by way of disgustingly indulgent acts. The characters all distill an air of oddball humour, distaste and intrigue. It is, in fact, a compelling mix of attributes for the once entertained viewer.
What do these students really believe about society? Is it all a mask? Of course, but need the mask ever be broken? Not if money is in the equation. Yet, is Scherfig being irrationally exploitative of Oxbridge and overtly indulgent for no apparent reason? Well, yes, but then lets drop the context and focus on the individual; we have all met a similar character to those in The Riot Club. The film is highly relatable on a singular theme of the enslavement of power and money, the latter the contributor to the former!
Of course, these rich individuals do not have to be public schoolboys, although public schoolboys clearly attribute a higher ratio of this addiction, so it is clear that Scherfig has latched onto this welcomed state of class in Britain. It is inevitable, therefore, that this film will greatly offend those who are part of the institution, it may even make others decide on Durham instead, or it may make the alienated and yobbish youth of our society (again a generalisation, but this is largely a generalised film we are talking about) work harder so that they can go to a good university and partake in unthinkable acts with rich friends. Not too good either!
I believe that Scherfig is highlighting the obscene acts that the youth of today often feel compelled to get involved in; it is that vile term that is so infectious: the ‘lad’ culture. Here things may be spiced up for dramatic effect, but such similar imprudent acts can be witnessed on the sidewalk in any town (and more often than not, by the youth of today). So, buckle up for disagreement or settle in haste for a noteworthy film with impressive performances from a young and promising cast of British male actors.