RISE AND FALL OF A WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN

6.5 out of 10

Release Date: 10th August 2012 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Paul Tanter: (No Easy Days (TV) / He Who Dares 2 / Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3 / Shame The Devil / He Who Dares / Hooligan Wars / Essex Boys Retribution / White Collar Hooligan 2 / Fall of the Essex Boys /Jack Falls)

Cast: Nick Nevern, Simon Phillips, Peter Barrett, Rita Ramnani, Roland Manookian, Rebecca Ferdinando with Ricci Harnett and Billy Murray

Writer: Raheel Riaz & Paul Tanter

Trailer: RISE AND FALL OF THE WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN 

Read Joe Pesci’s review below.>>! (if you dare!)

One thing can be said for Chata Pictures / Press On Features (GBH, The Fall Of The Essex Boys, The Jack Trilogy & The Last Seven) is that the more films they make the better they get.  Its probably obvious that the more films they get bankrolled the more finance they get and the better talent they attract.  Well the first point may well be correct but bafflingly the actors remain the same.  I’m also happy to report that they are improving with practice as well.

Ignoring the fact that the title itself is a blatant cash in on the popularity of Rise Of The Footsoldier this is their best film yet.  And it’s their best film  by a country mile.  This feature shares the same director as the DOA third installment of the Jack Trilogy – Jack Falls and a few of the same actors.  The gulf in quality is massive, having watched them in close succession.  A lot of this film’s success is down to a winning leading man (Nick Nevern – OUTPOST 2), a likeable narration and a convincing script.  Read the Jack Falls review for how sh*t it is.

Our hero leads a simple existence as an unemployed football hooligan.  Unable to find a job, a chance meeting with an old mate (Simon Phillips – AIRBORNE) at a ruck gets him a job as a driver for a gang of credit card fraudsters.  Moving up the ranks swiftly, he find himself getting in too deep.  With the police breathing down his neck to turn grass plus ever dangerous and competitive rival firms encroaching on his life, he begins to look for a way out.  Will he escape with his life?

Rise Of and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan moves along at a fair clip and it shines a spotlight on an area of  organised crime seldom looked at in cinema.  So it’s not just another tired tale of drug dealing.  Nick Nevern‘s portrayal is realistic and immersive. His predicament and growing fear all too understandable as people around him begin to slip, get killed or reveal themselves to be something else altogether.  Billy Murray (THE BILL) plays close to type as his fifth Mr Big in a row but at least he’s good at it.  Simon Phillips who was the titular tit of the said Jack Trilogy is so much better than usual here.  After this, Airborne and Strippers Vs. Werewolves he’s proving himself to be a talent to watch in Independent British cinema.  Just please no more Jack films.

If you’re not tired of UK gangster movies yet, this is a solid one. Nice performances and a good script set this ahead of anything else these guys have done so far.  It’s a shame the title is targeted at fans of a certain type of movie, the DVD even has sticker on highlighting the presence of Ricci Harnett (28 DAYS LATER), who was the leading man, Carlton Leech in The Rise Of The Footsoldier.  The backers needed the confidence to let this one stand on its own two feet. It’s well shot and scored too.  Not as original as it could have been but you can’t have steak every night, sometimes fish & chips are just what you need. There’s already a sequel to this being filmed. Here’s hoping it sees a return of Roland Manookian (PIGGY) as a very very nasty rival criminal.  He steals the show.

6.5  out of 10 – Solid, dependable, above average UK crime fare.  Ignore the ‘cash-in’ title.  Stupid accountants trying to run a film company.  A great lead performance from lug with a heart Nick Nevern. Probably a talent to keep an eye on. Nick Nevern and Simon Phillips next team up in the latter’s directorial debut, GBH.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “RISE AND FALL OF A WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN

  1. JOE PESCI’S items of wit and observation lurk beneath!

    Keep on trying. Never give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again. These are the morals that I take from this film. Well, not from the film itself (whose moral is probably something along the lines of stick by your friends and hope for the best), but from its very existence. Over the last few months I have been subjected to all manner of abysmal low-budget British films (BONDED BY BLOOD, BIG FAT GYPSY GANGSTER, BASEMENT, THE REVEREND, SEVEN LIVES) some of which I’ve enjoyed (usually for the wrong reasons), many of which I have excoriated in these pages. And certain names keep turning up, names which I now recognise as the usual suspects of the British cinematic underground: Simon Philips, Jonathan Sothcott, Billy Murray, Danny Dyer chief among them. So imagine my surprise, my utter delight on viewing RISE AND FALL OF A WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN! This is a genuinely good film! That may sound condescending. It is condescending. But it is also true.
    Briefly, Nick Nevern is an unemployed hooligan who, through his old pal Simon Philips, finds work as a credit card fraudster. Ups, downs and shenanigans ensue.
    So, why does this film tower above others of its ilk? Two things, closely related. It’s funny. And it doesn’t take itself too seriously. True, it has that stupidly portentous title, but once we’re inside there’s a lightness of touch to the proceedings. There’s the set-piece montage of increasingly hopeless job interviews, some well-paced ‘at work’ sequences (we see our hero delivering some packages, though I’m certain they use the same package in every shot), and then there’s his car. Moreover, we are never asked to believe that this is some saga of great import; Nevern and Philips are just having a good time. (To start with; but even when it turns ‘dark’ it remains quirky.) It’s also tightly plotted, well written (alas, we are subject to a voice-over, but fortunately it is unobtrusive), and straightforward. (There is a bit of flashforward and flashback but in this instance it helps to create the appearance of a (very early) false ending. But there’s nothing flashy, no unnecessary attempts at cleverness for the sake of it. True, there’s no particularly great dialogue either (and lots of unimaginative use of the insult ‘cunt’) but then again, these aren’t the brightest characters you’ll ever meet, so perhaps the dialogue should reflect that.
    As for the actors, the usual suspects are here, and they’re on good form. This week Billy Murray returns to the Billy Murray role (obviously, he’s the gangster kingpin, but he’s pretty good here: he’s understated and serious, and you can believe that he’s a businessman rather than a psychopath). Meanwhile Peter Barrett is splendidly vile, Roland Manookian does his mad Manookian thing (to be fair, he seems to have wandered in from a different film; but that works), and Ricci Harnett irritates (but he’s meant to). As so often in British crime films, the Achilles heel is the women – faithful/unfaithful and seeming to have no reason to exist other than to make (or occasionally solve) problems for our hero. Rita Ramnani struggles with a wafer-thin bit of scripting. There’s Rebecca Ferdinando as a tart with a heart who really ought to smack our hero round the head. Which leaves Charlie Bond as a bored secretary as the best on offer, as she clearly has no interest in our hero’s travails.
    But what of our two leads? Well, one of them is Simon Philips, the great enigma of modern low-budget British cinema. On the one hand, he just doesn’t seem to be a natural actor. Which enables him to seem both natural and awkward (often simultaneously). But you believe in his and Nevern’s relationship. Maybe this is the key to the film. It’s not about crime or football or gangsters or drugs. It’s about a friendship. My word, it’s a bromance! Mind you, although you believe it, you also remain just a tad suspicious as well. See, this film has ambiguity! As well as jokes and even a story!
    I’ve left the best till last. Nick Nevern is a revelation (I’ve seen him as a particularly rubbish copper in SEVEN LIVES, a boring corrupt copper in GBH, and as a standard-issue tough guy with a chip on his shoulder in OUTPOST 2). He’s funny, not as tough as he’d like to be, and dare I say it, sweet? (I don’t suppose he’ll thank me for that what with his alleged desire to do damage to this site’s originator, currently in hiding in the wildernesses of Bedfordshire.) For once, we have a character who has some vulnerability and doubt. When he gets in too deep, you actually believe he’s in trouble, and that he’s not going to be able to just turn round and mow down his enemies in a hail of bullets. (You still wouldn’t want to bump into him on a dark night though.)
    But nothing is perfect. When our hero arrives in Paris, a caption helpfully tells us ‘Paris’. And there’s a shot of the Eiffel Tower. And the Arc de Triomphe. And there is one big, big problem with the film (though I think it’s probably just me.)The use of the word ‘hooligan’ in the title suggests a football-oriented film. And indeed, our two likely lads are big football fans. Indeed, their love of the beautiful game is so great their liberty is threatened by it. And yet, the whole of the footballing subplot feels bolted on. The riot, the cup finals, even the plot development involved, all feel a bit fake somehow. This is not a football or hooligan related film, and might even have been stronger if the whole football bit had been ruthlessly amputated.
    Still, it’s good to see a crime film where our hero isn’t desperate to climb the food-chain, and who acknowledges his faults. Our protagonists are, for the main, petty criminals who think they’ve found a nice, safe, victimless crime. Of course, there is no such thing. There are also hints of gangster turf-wars, which are handled well, and entirely from our hero’s perspective. He is a footsoldier (maybe they could have called it RISE AND FALL OF A FOOTSOLDIER?) and therefore not privy to the politics at the top. And like anyone not at the top, he has to deal with the fallout. This is easily one of the best recent British crime films: unpretentious, fast, credible and human. I see that a sequel is imminent; I wish it well but do wonder whether it’s necessary.
    7.5 out of 10

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