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Football Film Thursdays: The Firm (1989)

In the latest segment of this fresh franchise - Chris looks at one of the best football films of all time

First let me apologise - this isn't a review of the piss-poor and downright awful remake, released in 2009 by that talentless buffoon Nick Love - who we've mentioned before on here.

No, this is The Firm, and this is one of the best football films of all time.

Happily, the film is available to view in full on Youtube:

The film stars Gary Oldman, Phil Davis, Charles Lawson and EastEnders very own puce hardman Steve McFadden in his acting debut. The film is based on the activities of the Inter City Firm (billed as the "Inter City Crew") football firm of West Ham United during the 1970s and 1980s.

There are precisely zero mentions of Bolton Wanderers in the film, but it is undoubtedly one of the finest performances in Gary Oldman's long and storied career.

He plays Clive "Bexy" Bissel, a seemingly settled-down middle class married estate agent who has a weekend life running with the Inter City Crew, much to the chagrin of his wife. Not even a Stanley knife-inflicted injury happened upon his baby son is enough to take him out of the lifestyle.

His dominance of the West Ham boys joins into a vision of a national firm, which would join all the smaller firms into one. As you may guess, these ideas are not accepted by other firm leaders, and he is murdered by a rival firm. Bexy's followers still regard him as a hero figure and claim that when they are fighting European thugs at a forthcoming tournament they will be doing so in memory of their dead leader.

This revolutionary film is presented almost entirely without music, which nicely complements Oldman's performance as a psychopathic 'cult' leader - his proud macho exterior is a force in itself, meaning that the absence of sound is barely noticeable in what is an absolutely captivating display.

The 2009 remake is absolutely diabolical, and I'll be reviewing that very soon, but for now, I will just tell you to seek this out, and get it watched.

Verdict - 5/5