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Four policemen go undercover and infiltrate a gang of football hooligans hoping to root-out their leaders. For one of the four, the line between 'job' and 'yob' becomes more unclear as time... See full summary »
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Set in the 1980s, Dom is a teenager who finds himself drawn into the charismatic world of football 'casuals,influenced by the firm's top boy, Bex. Accepted by the gang for his fast mouth and sense of humor, Dom soon becomes one the boys. But as Bex and his gang clash with rival firms across the country and the violence spirals out of control, Dom realizes he wants out - until he learns it's not that easy to simply walk away. Written by
Towards the end of the film Bex and the rest of the firm are seen going into a London underground station and through some very modern looking ticket barriers. See more »
[Terry bumps into Bex on the dance floor]
Whoa. Sorry mate.
It's alright mate. Teach you to dance like a fucking melt though, won't it?
Slow down. I'm just cutting a rug with me wife.
[Terry looks at Bex' wife]
No, you don't wanna make one with me mate. I'll fucking leave you behind.
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Put Our Heads Together
Written by Keni Burke and Kenny Gamble
Performed by The O'Jays
Published by Warner-Ta Merlane Publishing Corp. (BMI)
Courtesy of Philadelphia International Records, Assorted Music Inc.
(c) 1982 See more »
Like a lot of people, when I first heard the news that Nick Love was "updating" the original version of The Firm I anticipated the worst. My objection lay not so much in the fact it was a remake of a classic film, but more as to why we needed yet another film centering on football hooliganism.
The argument that such material merely glamorizes the violence it depicts, (appealing as it does to a section of youth that also worship the fashion and lingo of the genre) is without question. The worst example of which (and still prominent in most bargain bins of HMV up and down the land) would be the truly execrable "Green Street". A film so inept in its plotting, acting and overall plausibility that you'd be forgiven for thinking the whole thing had been stitched together by a gang of football thugs themselves.
Contrary to what director Lexi Alexander may think, this was a film that at every opportunity served to heighten the voyeuristic delight of its male, teenage demographic. Self conscious fight sequences shot through with booming dance interludes, whilst a preoccupation with all things bloody gave way to an orgiastic ending which was more like a scene from Braveheart than a realistic portrayal of football mob violence.
Which brings us back to Love and The Firm. What immediately strikes here, as it does in "Goodnight Charlie Bright", and "The Football Factory" is the skill and accuracy with which Love conveys his subject matter.
The film is also a far warmer and optimistic piece than anything Love has made so far. Central character "Dominic" shares an all too believable rapport with his father, forever wrangling money from him, whilst both parents playfully tease him throughout the film - trying their best not to cramp his style when a friend catches Dom at his local sports store.
It is this held focus on the family, combined with the way in which Dominic is positioned when the violence first unfolds (felled by a single punch and then little more than a terrified witness for the remainder of the film)that make for a clear mission statement on the behalf of the director.
The scenes of violence here must also be commended for their reserve and authenticity. Thanks to Love's impeccable eye for the 1980s, the sense of watching a documentary on football violence runs close at times, with the camera skittering about to capture snatches of fight that never quite take off as quite accurately, the police intervene - with their standard uniform and makeshift formation, capturing them in flux before the later arrival of CCTV and full riot gear.
This lends real tension to these scenes. Yet Love has no agenda here other than to show how quickly such altercations are broken up and how they often amount to little more than benign screaming matches. Even the more "laddish" Football Factory tended not to dwell on the full scale chaos between its football gangs and Love has clearly kept this in mind with The Firm.
It must be said however, that the film hardly breaks new territory. (within what is already a very limited genre) Though there is no question that the look and feel of the era has been captured brilliantly and that as top boy "Bex" Paul Anderson is suitably charged, with its rather obvious ending - an eye for an eye simply meaning someone will end up losing their head, it is at least a refreshing twist to see Love's championing of the values of friends and family over the raging poison of the hooligans themselves.
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