A Review Of Nick Love’s “The Firm”, Focussing Mostly On The Clothes

The first film review from Doco Dom Wade for X&HT looks at Nick Love’ s neglected love story to 80s casual culture, The Firm.

Scene from The Firm 2009 001


Why was I interested in watching Nick Love’s film The Firm?  I enjoyed his gangster flick The Business. Both films are set in the 1980’s, the decade when I came of age. I can relate to the subject matter, to an extent.

I was not a football hooligan. My mum did once say to me she was concerned that I would become a Chelsea fan. What I had done for her to say this, I honestly can not remember.  It would be funny if it came after asking her to buy me a Fila tracksuit top.  If you are unaware, this type of clothing was part of the uniform for football hooligans in the 80’s.

Something grabbed me about those clothes, I could list various reason for liking them but I don’t think that would explain the attraction fully. It is a tired old statement to say you had to be there, but maybe that is the case with this kind of thing. I was there like many others and we decided together that this was how we wanted to look to the world.

The clothes were out of reach for schoolboys. We did not have the money to buy them.  We always want what is just out of reach. Sometimes we get it. Our parents would succumb to our endless requests for those loud brightly coloured clothes, most of which had a logo on them.

Anyway, is this a film review or clothes review?  A bit of both, I suppose.  Did I enjoy The Firm?  I did, but not as much as The Business. Why, you might ask? Does it come down to the fact that gangsters are further away from my life than football hooligans? I guess so. Even in little old Cambridge in the 1980’s there were football hooligans around. It was in the news and I may well have been at school with some real life hooligans. I went to support Cambridge United during this time so I must have been near some of these people. My friends and I just hung around together and I do not think any of my close friends went to join a gang of the hardcore guys who wanted to shout at each other and spill some of each other’s blood for fun.

In the last sentence I have summed up the plot line for The Firm. For me there was not a huge amount going on in the film.  No doubt the same can be said about The Business. I know I will be watching The Business again. I am less inclined to watch The Firm again.

At times The Business made me smile. I think the The Firm has a darker overall feel than The Business. So Mister Love must be showing progress with his characters.  If you wanted me to pick which set of people I believe really exist, I would say I know that the guys from The Firm are real and the ones in The Business are more fictitious to me.

The music from the 80’s helps you to feel nostagic for the time. The titles have a cool 80’s neon look to them. The fact that I am finding it hard to say much about The Firm maybe shows as I said earlier there is not much going on with the piece overall.

To sum up, if you like the clothes you will enjoy seeing the prime examples of 80s casual wear in The Firm. I noticed the make with the kangaroo for a logo, I cannot remember what they were called. Some more internet research may dig that up.

I think Quadrophenia is going to take some beating in this film making genre.  The Firm just sits under it as a nice little document of the times.

(I’m offering an official X&HTrophy to the first person in the comments to tell me which clothing make has a kangaroo as their logo. Terms and conditions apply, once I figure out what they are.)


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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

8 thoughts on “A Review Of Nick Love’s “The Firm”, Focussing Mostly On The Clothes”

  1. Kangaroo = Kangol … Tend to make hats

    Pedant speaking …. How can you review Nick Love’s The Firm without mentioning the 80s TV play The Firm (starring Gary Oldman) and as iconic a football hooligan story as they come. Love’s film is a loose remake and as a result a poor relation because it drowns in the clobber element vs the tight drama of the original.
    Also Love’s adaptation of Football Factory (2004) is where he nailed hooliganism in film – again why no mention.
    The Business on the other hand is, admittedly, a fanciful drama out in costa del sol, but a great misunderstood flick. I feel The Business suffers from the negative assumptions by largely middle class film reviewers about uk film makers wants to satusgy their gangster fetish – which had reached saturation by 2005 – when The Business came out – and as a result was dismissed as just another boys with guns and coke film. Time has shown it to be much more interesting than most of its peers then and now.

    1. I think the point Dom was trying to make was that The Firm is such an artistically redundant remake that the only thing worth talking about was the clothes. We weren’t ever planning for this piece to be an overview of Love’s films. I’m certainly no fan of his. To be fair, Dom did point out that he much preferred The Business.

      Cheers for the comment, Stu. An X&HTrophy is winging its way to you via the intertubes.

  2. To continue my pedant’s corner – this blog doesn’t mention remake … so it reads like after The Business Love made another 80s flick called The Firm… Watch the doc called Casuals… The Firm was a promotional video for clothing and only that love and kisses Stuart

  3. We are all still friends then!! Your comments are fair Stuart. I have seen the doc Casuals. It screened at the Portobello film festival last year. As Rob said I was just trying to comment on The Firm. I have not seen the original Firm, I am pretty sure I saw Football Factory around 2008. It just did not spring to mind as I was writing this little piece. I guess we have filled in some of the gaps with this chat!

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