June 17, 2012

Filthy Review - The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan

The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

Football isn’t a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that.  That’s a quote taken from this English crime flick, and it’s also a phrase I have grown up knowing. Football, or soccer to my American brethren, is an all-consuming passion; if your team wins you feel on top of the world, and if they lose it feels as though the world has ended. It isn’t something that can easily be explained, you either get it or you don’t. This is the world that Mike Jacobs lives in, and it’s about to be shaken up.

Mike is down on his luck; he’s out of work and is having no joy finding a job. The one thing that keeps him going, aside from his loving girlfriend, is his love of Football and having a good ruck after the match. It’s whilst at one of these confrontations with the police that he bumps into an old friend named Eddie. The two arrange to meet up for a drink and catch up on old times.

Whilst they out Eddie makes comment on Mike’s lack of employment, he jokes about it but he also informs Mike that he might have some work available. Sure, we’ve heard it all before, and so has Mike. He wants to stay on the straight and narrow, and certainly doesn’t want to get involved in anything dodgy. However, desperate times call for desperate measures so Mike gives it a shot. He certainly doesn’t feel too bad about it once he learns that what he is asked to do is in actual fact a so-called victimless crime. It’s never that simple though is it?

What we get with White Collar Hooligan is a short sharp crime thriller that scoops us up and takes us along for the ride. The basic outline of the plot, as the title implies, is not something that hasn’t been seen before, but it is done with honest conviction here with some genuinely likeable characters. There are also, of course, some downright nasty bastards; the kind you wouldn’t want to meet in broad daylight, let alone down a dark alley.

Although The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan is very much a crime thriller, and a fairly violent one at that, it focuses squarely on Mike and his struggle between doing the right thing and making some seemingly easy cash. It does after all afford him a lifestyle he is unaccustomed too. The violence, when it happens, comes along in quick sucker punches, director Paul Tanter decides not to linger on these unsavory moments. Instead of this, the violence happens and we move on, which is not to say that these scenes do not pack a punch, because believe me they do.

Based on a true story, this film taps into two of the seedier aspects of English culture; street crime and hooliganism, neither of which are too far apart from each other. However, whereas films like The Football Factory and Green Street Hooligans focus firmly on football and hooliganism, White Collar Criminal leans very much towards the criminal aspect, with football being more in the background.

This is a tightly scripted and edited movie with some cracking dialogue and good solid performances from all involved. Nick Nevern is thoroughly convincing as Mike and Simon Phillips as Eddie manages to switch between a good friend and a vicious bastard with seeming ease.

With the film being very much rooted in English culture some of the dialogue and references may well be lost on some of those outside of England; however this is a cracking film that is well worth checking out, especially for fans of gritty crime thrillers. It’s tough, violent and brash, with a heart of gold, and is bloody good.

The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan hits UK theaters on June 22nd and DVD on July 2nd from Momentum Pictures.

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