SPOILER: Alistair and Miles, both with aristocratic connections, start their first year at Oxford University though they are very different, Miles is down to earth and happy to have a girlfriend, Lauren, from a lower background whilst Alistair is a snob with aspirations to follow his uncle, a Tory MP. The common bond is that both become members of the Riot Club, a long established elite drinking club priding itself on hedonism and the belief that money can buy anything. Having been barred from most establishments in Oxford they have their annual dinner at the function room in a country pub, where their rowdy behavior angers other patrons though they reimburse Chris, the landlord. They hire a prostitute but she refuses to perform group sex, then one of them rings Lauren, whom they importune to Max's horror. Getting progressively more drunk and ingesting drugs they start to trash the room and, when Chris comes to complain, Alistair savagely assaults him, landing him in hospital. Though ...Written by
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Founded in approximately 1780, the Bullingdon Club were notorious for booking out a restaurant, trashing it beyond recognition and handing the owner a cheque for the damages on the way out. The unofficial club, which still exists today, consists of a select group of male elites at Oxford University and is the inspiration behind the latest cinema release, "The Riot Club".
The Riot Club begins with the group looking to recruit two new starters, as Alistair (Sam Claflin) and Miles (Max Irons) emerge as possible candidates. However, over the course of a single evening, the club's reputation is put on the line.
The film itself is very much an emotional roller-coaster. Initially, there are plenty of laughs to be had, mostly executed through witty one-liners, though it becomes a lot darker with some shocking scenes that make for extremely uncomfortable viewing. It's the latter which highlights the film's superb acting, as the young cast give genuinely convincing performances. Holliday Grainger, who plays Lauren - Miles' love interest, particularly stands out here.
Playwright Laura Wade adapted the film from her own play "Posh", and it clearly shows, as a large portion of the film is based at the table in the restaurant. While it comes as a slight disappointment that The Riot Club doesn't stray too far from its theatrical origins, it does seem to work in the film's favour, adding to the suspense before the highly dramatic climax.
Wade unsubtly incorporates a number of themes in The Riot Club that are reflective of the society we live in, including the inherited privilege and power culture in the country. There's also a lot of political satire, which comes as no surprise considering some of The Bullingdon Club's ex-members include the current British Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Overall, The Riot Club is an excellent play-adaptation that makes for a highly gripping film. There's laughs a plenty, shocks a plenty and a great cast. This is a must-see.
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