Soccer season. Though I am a new found fan of the world's most popular sport, having discovered my love during the 2010 World Cup, coupled with Fall it makes for the most perfect of moods. It has also given me the excuse to ignore my movie-watching process, and a piss-poor excuse at that. Years before I was a fan of the sport, I found myself drawn to some of the folklore surrounding it. By this I speak of Football Hooliganism, an area of interest I've had for a long time stemming from my obsession with British subcultures of the past. It's not behavior I support, mind you, but the Ultra subculture behind The English Disease is something I have always found somewhat fascinating. It's because of this that I've taken come to enjoy such films Green Street Hooligans and I.D. in the past, and as of this morning, The Firm(1989), starring one Gary Oldman.
Oldman plays the slightly yuppy-ish Bix Bissell, real estate agent by day, mustached gang leader by night. Bix and his crew, Inter City Crew, are rabid supporters of West Ham United, one of London's most popular Football Clubs who's real-life supporters happen to be notorious. The England National Team is about to head to mainland Europe for the European Championship, and Bix has big plans of leading a team of hooligans comprised of several other firms. Unfortunately, the other firm bigwigs aren't fond of this idea unless the ICC can beat the other gangs fair and square the only way they know how..through sheer brutality. Just how far is Bix willing to go to lead his envisioned super crew in Europe?
At a very short 67 minutes, it's no surprise that The Firm is a made-for-tv movie. What is surprising though, is how much of a full- length event the director was able to fit into a little over an hour. I'm guessing it had a lot do do with the quality of the actors present, something most of the movies I review don't really have. Even though most of the actors, with the exception of Oldman are no-names in the USA, there is definitely something to be said for the quality you get on the BBC.
I can honestly say I was expecting more a gang of skinheads than one of ultra-violent yuppies before I started this movie, knowing both the history of the director and similar roles Oldman had played during this time period. It was a pleasant surprise though that was tied up in a 10-second news blurb while the gang were watching the telly, a scene I'm sure was purposely thrown in the mix because I probably wasn't the only one thinking these thoughts. Again my obsession with British subculture getting ahead of me. It makes sense though, seeing as the hooligan movement starting taking a more "casual" approach to dress in 70's to avoid altercations with the authorities.
Thanks to The Firm, I will be spending the next couple of days, or weeks even, indulging my obsessions with all things football and skinhead related, so don't be surprised if the next couple of reviews are related. At that, if you're able to procure a copy of the Firm, covet it, because it will in no way be a wasted expense.
Not wanting to cut this short, but I've got a 2:00 Shamrock Rovers match to watch.