The Riot Club


Action / Drama / Thriller


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January 20, 2015 at 01:51 AM



Natalie Dormer as Charlie
Sam Claflin as Alistair Ryle
Douglas Booth as Harry Villiers
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807.64 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 47 min
P/S 2 / 15
1.64 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 47 min
P/S 3 / 12

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by TheSquiss 5 / 10

Odious toffs doing horrible things. Nice club. Not the Oxford of Inspector Morse!

For the vast majority of us, The Riot Club is so far removed from our own experience as to be virtually irrelevant. The same is probably true with Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, but while I spent the first half of that triumph wishing I could have Jordan Belfort's experiences and the second half thanking some unknown deity I haven't, there was something about him I couldn't help liking. In The Riot Cub, however, we are presented with an odious bunch of toffs with few, if any, redeeming features.

Alistair (Sam Claflin) and Miles (Max Irons), both aristocratic and with either latent or pronounced class prejudices, begin their first term at Oxford University. Their social standing makes them attractive prospects for the infamous Riot Club. With a maximum membership of ten at any time, mystery surrounds the exclusive, secret society that has a closer bond than the Masons and a legendary penchant for excess, debauchery and a privileged standing that means the members never suffer the consequences of their hedonism. Banned from Oxford's finer establishments, the Club prepares for their annual dinner and the investiture of their news members.

I'm not sure The Riot Club has anything much to say. Is it a piece of social commentary? If so, we already know there are those who are moneyed, privileged and get away with murder, sometimes literally. If it is to excite us and make us hanker for the greener grass on the other side of the fence, it fails; why would we want that? If director Lone Scherfig (One Day, An Education) is aiming to show us how fortunate we are not to be part of that world, then surely there are subtler ways of doing so.

The Riot Club isn't a bad film; it is just a largely unpleasant one. This is a voyeuristic look through a grimy window at a display of wanton abandon and viciousness at the expense of absolutely everyone who isn't, or wasn't, part of The Riot Club. While most naughty boys think they can get away with scrumping apples, bunking off school and firing catapults at innocent, harmless animals, these are loathsome, obnoxious boys who grew up on a campaign of hatred and swapped their misdemeanours for felonies like vandalism, violence, and rape.

Nice club! Perhaps for those who have been through that educational experience and are part of that tiny segment of society of privileged society it means something. Certainly the man behind me laughed periodically in apparent understanding. He was the only one in our small audience. Me? I felt uncomfortable through most of it, particularly with the pseudo morality of Miles when he apparently tries to do the right thing and rise above it, though his peers do not hold back in reminding him he, too, is there by choice.

The Riot Club is well performed by all, the attention to detail feels meticulous, from the perspective of one on the outside, and, yes, there is a part of me that enjoyed it. It was a fascinating experience that repulsed me frequently and left me feeling rather dirty; a little like the evening I had inflicted on me by a long-eschewed former colleague.

I suspect The Riot Club will have a limited audience and most of those who venture out will find something within it to fascinate them. I can't imagine many in my circle of friends wanting a repeat viewing or wishing for a life in the inner circle of society afterwards, though.

Well constructed, fascinating and repulsive, The Riot Club is a classic example of a film that is good, despite the subject matter being thoroughly unpleasant.

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Reviewed by wriggy 7 / 10

The Riot Club is a riot

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.

Reviewed by Jack Hawkins (Hawkensian) 8 / 10

A genuinely uncomfortable, shocking film about yobbos in waistcoats that met and surpassed my expectations

After an amusing introductory scene that informs you of the club's centuries old origin, the film turns to contemporary Oxford and presents us with the latest generation of students and Riot Club members. It follows first-year students Miles Richards (Max Irons) and Alistair Ryle (Sam Claflin), both are of 'good stock' however the former is normal and down-to-earth and the latter is a malicious, fascistic sociopath.

During the fresher's activities, Miles quickly befriends the middle- class Lauren (Holliday Grainger), a friendly girl from Northern England; the romantic pair have a sweet naturalism as they playfully talk about and erode their differing heritages. The scowling, aloof Alistair however proves to be not much of a conversationalist.

Both are soon inaugurated into the Riot Club, whose other members include Harry Villiers (Douglas Booth), the pretty boy who struck me as the de-facto leader of the club; Hugo Fraser-Tyrwhitt (Sam Reid), a closet homosexual with an attraction to Miles; Dimitri Mitropolous (Ben Schnetzer), a horribly rich Greek student, and James Leighton- Masters (Freddie Fox), the smug little squirt who's somehow the president of the club. Some have said that it is littered with caricatures, however the film isn't about ordinary Oxford students or ordinary privilege, it is about an elite circle of extreme wealth and aristocracy.

After Miles and Alistair make up the Riot Club's ten members, the group soon have their risibly pompous suits tailored and set off for a night's debauchery to The Old Bull, one of the few establishments they haven't been banned from. By the time this happens, I thought I had the measure of the pretentious characters and the film's narrative and tone, however as the 'dinner' progresses, both the characters and the course of events become veritably loathsome.

As most will know, The Riot Club is inspired by the Bullingdon Club, an Oxford University dining society infamous for its destructive hedonism that boasts alumni such as David Cameron, Boris Johnson and George Osborne. The film's main target of attack isn't the purported anti-social behaviour of such people, the obnoxious decadence we witness is not endemic to the highly disagreeable 'Riot Club', what it attacks is rather the characters' raging, blue-blooded superiority complexes that causes it. Some may disagree with its politics, they may consider it a gross exaggeration; it is indeed vehement in its depiction of class wars, however I think it is undeniably a very well executed piece of filmmaking.

The film is adapted from the stage play Posh by Laura Wade, and the middle section of the narrative, which is one long scene, certainly feels like the work of a playwright. Like Tracy Letts' Killer Joe (2011) and Bug (2006), it is another example of how punchy stage material often makes an excellent transfer to the cinema.

Much like Letts' work, The Riot Club contains a maelstrom within a cramped four walls; the scene goes from embarrassing to plain excruciating as the decuplet, fuelled by alcohol, drugs and each other's presence, become increasingly hateful and immoral, the vile crescendo eventually reaching a climax that's genuinely shocking. It is all witnessed by the unassuming pub landlord. He is initially honoured to host the boys, the sight of him sycophantically at the beck and call of people half his age who look at him the way they would dog mess on their shoe is pathetic in the true meaning of the word.

The worst offender is Alistair, Sam Claflin is excellent when delivering his well-written diatribes with drunken, acerbic hatred. Alistair's genocidal contempt for the working classes and those bereft of prestige bore similarities to Adolf Hitler's loathing of Jews; he gets so angry that he's reduced to saying 'I'm sick to f*cking deathÂ… of poor people!' Alistair is the most odious example of unearned privilege and arrogant sense of entitlement, he rants about the successes and innovations of the ruling classes and the proletariat's supposed jealousy as if he's had a part in it, after all, what exactly has he achieved apart from winning the genetic lottery? Claflin proves himself as an accomplished villain actor, he gives his character a sociopathic quality; when there aren't flashes of his vulgar jealousy, resentment and massive hubris, Alistair has an unnerving emotional vacuity.

The Riot Club is not simply 107 minutes of pretty boys holding champagne flutes, it is a sharply made thriller that is perhaps politically divisive but rivetingly executed.


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