Review: The Riot Club (2014) dir. Lone Scherfig

 The Riot Club is a first for my blog. This is the very first film that I’ve done a bit of a review of that I really didn’t like. I suppose it’s down to the fact that I normally watch films based on reviews I’ve read, which isn’t always ideal. There are plenty of films that I enjoy that haven’t got the best reviews, and plenty of films I don’t like that have gotten raves. Whether a good thing or bad thing, I can get talked out of watching a film I’ve been waiting to see if the reviews aren’t great. But watching bad films means that you can differentiate them from the good ones.

However, with The Riot Club, I was talked into watching the film regardless of any reviews because it was set around the University of Oxford. A place that I’ve gone to visit a few times now and absolutely fallen in love with. Watching places I love in film is always the second best thing for me, so I really wanted to see it.

© 2015 - IFC © 2015 – IFC

The film centres around a secret boys club by the same name as the film. The film opens with the start of a new year, and also by explaining the long lineage of the club from it’s founding member. It doesn’t take too long until the club are initiating two freshers (who incidentally hate each other) for spaces in the Club. For context, the club is a fictional version of the Bullingdon Club, of which David Cameron and Boris Johnson were members.

Next thing you know, the club are having their annual dinner at a pub in the country (apparently because no where closer will take their reservation, the naughty boys) and that takes up the rest of the film. And it ends a bit weirdly. I won’t spoil it for you, but yeah, it’s a bit odd.

© 2015 - IFC
© 2015 – IFC

As it turns out, the film has got average reviews. So I think the general consensus is that it’s an alright film. Not great, but not maybe as bad as I think it is. Maybe it’s because so little of it actually takes place in Oxford apart from the beginning, incidentally the part of the film I enjoyed the most. But, I think mainly it’s because it changes tone so completely when it gets to the pub. I just don’t really know what to do with myself.

I’m basically waiting for them to leave the pub and for the film to move on. But it never does, until it, well, does. Really quite abruptly. When I found out it was originally a play named Posh, I totally understood exactly why so much of the film took place in one location, as so many plays do. I think maybe I’d enjoy the play more.

So, to sum up: Starts off promising, slowly goes downhill and just, sort of, ends. Maybe watch a documentary or a Harry Potter film if you want to see more of Oxford.


© 2015 - IFC
© 2015 – IFC


What did you think of the film? Do you think I’m being a bit harsh on it because of my high expectations? Or biased because of my love of Oxford?

Want MORE?

If you’re a fan of film reviews, you might want to read about why Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2003) is the best in the series, and my close scene analysis of Lost in Translation.


I'm the human and hair behind Almost Ginger. I'm a cinephile travel obsessive vegetarian currently residing in Manchester.

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