Socialist Worker

The Riot Club is a tale of ruling class privilege to make you furious

by Greg Jones
Issue No. 2423

Toffs of the Riot Club

Toffs of the Riot Club

The Riot Club is an adaptation of Laura Wade’s 2010 play Posh.  

The club is a fictional version of Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club—the aristocratic drinking society that David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson attended. 

It depicts the adventures of two of the Riot Club’s prospective members, Miles and Alistair. 

The film gets off to a slow start and acts as an advertisement for the ruling class.

It shows them cavorting around Oxford in a Lamborghini car. 

But thankfully director Lone Scherfig manages to gradually—though not subtly—show the dark side of this elite. 

The sinister music starts and the films shifts to a room in suburban “gastropub”. 

As the evening progresses, the ten members of the Riot Club become increasingly debauched.

They reveal their racism, sexism and snobbery towards  ordinary people.

But meanwhile Miles (Max Irons) wrestles with his conscience. This reaches a crisis point when his working class girlfriend Lauren (Holly Grainger) is invited to the pub. Max Irons skilfully portrays the moral dilemma facing the supposed “nice toff” Miles. 

However, Lauren’s character is less developed. And the few other working class people—aghast and appalled at this elite—are simply caricatures.  

The film shows that ruling class “rioters” can get away without repercussions.

Instead they will end up “behind big desks”, just like the Tory prime minister, chancellor and London mayor.

Compare this to the treatment of Anderson Fernandes, who “looted” ice cream during the 2011 summer riots. 

He was sent to prison for 16 months and threatened with deportation. 

The Riot Club will undoubtedly make most of us furious at our rulers’ privilege. 

The Riot Club. Directed by Lone Scherfig. Out now

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Article information

Tue 30 Sep 2014, 16:48 BST
Issue No. 2423
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