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.
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.)