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  • Writer Geoff Thompson is a former bouncer who allegedly advocates hiding in the company loos to write your next best-seller so that some poor chump unknowingly pays you to do it while one of your workmates has to do the work you neglect. Works for him, I suppose, but not the most honest of attitudes (if it's true).

    This film is based on his autobiographical novel and it's quite a decent little film (although James Marquand's similarly themed Dead Man's Cards beats it by a country mile in all departments). The story is sort of believable - although morally dubious - but it's let down by a failure to establish a believable sense of period and a poor performance from Colin Salmon who might look the part but is totally unbelievable as a philosophical hard man who takes Thompson alter-ego Mel Raido under his wing. Salmon's lack of presence is counter-balanced by a good performance from Scot Williams as Sparky, one of a cadre of three bouncers who become Danny's (Raido) surrogate family when his marriage (and life) fall apart. Raido himself isn't that believable as a hard man thanks to an unfortunate resemblance to 50s British comedian Norman Wisdom. Despite this disability he delivers a decent performance while never really managing to win the audience's sympathy.

    The violence in this film is graphic and liberally sprinkled throughout the film, as is the kind of language that made films like Rise of the Foot Soldier, another recent Brit crime-flick, so laughable. No doubt it's authentic in some milieus but sometimes realism paradoxically serves to undermine the truth of a scene...
  • STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

    Danny (Mel Raido) is a lonely factory worker who tries to get by with his job and to be a good dad to his two daughters after a messy divorce from their mother (Maxine Peake.) But after an altercation with said daughters present at a Working Men's Club, he uses a trip to their dance class to take a glance at Louis (Colin Salmon) and his gang of hard men who train in the boxing gym/free weights section there and to train himself into a tougher, more assertive person. Before long he's taken the philosophies of Louis to heart and has joined him as a nightclub doorman as the 80s disco faze kicks in...but when associate Sparky (Scott Williams) tries to do a sideline in drug dealing, everything turns pear shaped.

    As Robert De Niro once stated in the film A Bronx Tale 'there's no bigger tragedy than wasted talent.' The writer of Clubbed had a good idea and a talent to make it into some sort of film...but without the ability, it seems, to put it all together into some sort of coherent film.

    As a brummie, some of the filming locations (especially a scene at the end outside the Ring O' Bells pub in Moseley!) were quite easy and fun to spot...but the dour look of the cinematography is really a downer on things. Some really poor acting, for instance lead actor Raido with an indecipherable accent that's all over the place, and a hammy script with some misfiring dialogue are bigger problems for the film though. More established actors like Peake and even telly favourite Neil Morressey are sidelined to very small supporting parts, while the disastrous Raido and Ronnie Fox's lame villain take centre stage. Williams does a poor man's Sick Boy from Trainspotting impression, leaving Salmon and Shaun Parkes seemingly the only performers left with any integrity from the whole thing, as the excessive, blood splattered violence (becoming a common trend for Brit flicks!) takes over. Truly a missed opportunity. **
  • Back in July 2004 it was announced that Piers Brosnan was standing down as James Bond. The speculation as to who was going to take over the role was hot. The usual suspects were talked about. Clive Owen ,Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany and even Hugh Jackman but there was one name on the short list that i would have loved to have seen get the role and that is the black British actor Colin Salmon. Even Daniel Craig said he would love to have seen Salmon get the role but I'm not so sure that true Bond fans would have been so accommodating. In this Gritty British gangster flick we see exactly why Colin Salmon is regarded as one of our top British actors.

    The tale begins in the present day, with factory worker Danny , experiencing prolonged marital estrangement from his wife, Angela . The narrative then flashes back to the '80s, when Danny makes the ill-advised decision to tote his young daughters to a brutal working-men's club - and gets promptly jumped and beaten by henchmen of the crime boss Lord Billy Hennessy .

    Reeling from the humiliation and suffering of this experience, Danny first attempts suicide, then does an about-face and opts to fight back by training as a boxer and taking a job as a bouncer at a local nightclub. Lo and behold, as it turns out two of the men with whom Danny trained, Sparky and Rob , not only have direct ties to Hennessy but opposing ties - one is letting Billy's drug dealers in, the other attempting to keep them out. As Hennessy watches the curtain unveiled before his eyes on the men's doings, it sets off a chain of nasty and ugly retributions that ultimately culminate with Danny wresting control of the situation and engaging in violent action against Hennessy's goons.

    The British film industry really does produce some great movies . It's just a shame they don't get the publicity and distribution they deserve. Director Neil Thompson and writer Geoff Thompson have teamed up to make a very entertaining film in "Clubbed".

    It's a film about deception and loyalty as a lot of gangster movies are but this one has a freshness about it. Mel Raido who plays the main character "Danny" , is fantastic. I have not seen him in anything before and he performs admirably alongside Colin Salmon and the likable Maxine Peake.

    Sure it's violent but i felt it was totally necessary to tell the story . I loves the disco soundtrack and the authenticity of the era the film is set in. The cars , the costumes the buildings all feel like it was set in and around 1980.

    The ending has a smart little twist that i never saw coming and a great deal of credit has to go everyone involved in Clubbing. I hope it gets a U.S DVD release as it would be a great shame if it didn't.

    Clubbed is release on DVD in the UK on May the 18th.

    Recommended.

    8 out of 10.
  • If you're into soul and disco music, "Clubbed" offers it in spades. In fact, I kind of hate equating modern crime films that utilize an R&B soundtrack ala Tarantino, but in this case, it can't be avoided. Without pointing to the similarities in "Pulp Fiction" and "Jackie Brown", let me say that "Clubbed" is not a bad film to spend 90 or so minutes with. Sure, in that time, you could be vacuuming your carpets or walking your dogs, but "Clubbed" is actually time well spent if you're into weaklings learning to beef themselves up. This is a trope in a LOT of Chinese Wuxia films; obviously, that's not a unique premise here. So sit back, grab some popcorn, and watch as a caterpillar blossoms into a Monarch, or something like that.
  • Clubbed is a whopper of a big budget movie. It's many movies in one. It's a movie about boxing. It's a movie about the early eighties disco scene. It's a movie about mobsters, about the good guys and the bad guys. It's a movie about how drug dealing can destroy relationships and lives. There are some stomach churning images of violence and also some harsh language so be prepared for that, but there are also plenty of touching moments. It is about a father's relationship with his daughters, a flawed man's relationship with his pregnant wife, a fearful man's relationship with is ex-wife, and the camaraderie between grown men. Clubbed is a story about friendship, about fate, about revenge. It's a big movie in every way, as perfect as a crime epic can be. Truly great cinema!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I discovered Clubbed by chance when I came across a copy promoting the release of the film on DVD in the office. That I had never heard of it is, in a way significant, in as far as it is an independent production without big studio backing and obviously only had limited promotion when it was first released in cinema. Or at least limited promotion of which I was unaware. That is a shame, because it isn't half bad (as we Brits tend to understate), and deserves a wider audience. Briefly, it is the story of a man who discovers courage and self-respect. Mel Raido is that man - Danny - a factory worker in a dead-end job who has been divorced by his wife and dotes on the two daughters he can only see by arrangement and the goodwill of his wife. By chance he meets Louis, a nightclub bouncer who is passionate not only about boxing but the psychology of violence, fear, warfare and 'fighting with fighting'. He also meets Louis's two assistant bouncers Rob and Sparky, of whom Rob is by far the more sympathetic. Other characters include a local psychopathic hoodlum and his henchmen, and Danny and Sparky's wives. Every performance is strong and intelligent, and there is a horrible logic to how everything gradually spins out of control with Rob dying a horrible death, Sparky killing himself by drinking bleach and Louis serving 12 years in prison for an attack on Hennessy, the hoodlum. Invariably, Clubbed will be lumped together with other recent Brit films - the DVD bills it as a cross between Trainspotting and Layer Cake, but that is unfair. It is more intelligent than Layer Cake ever was and has none of the very dark - Scottish - humour of Trainspotting. If anything, my one criticism is that Clubbed lacks depth: we could have done with more characterisation and the establishment of character and motivation. If that would have made the film longer, well so be it, I, for one would not have complained. Given that British films, as a rule, have far more limited resources than Tinseltown productions, and given that independent British films have even fewer resources, Clubbed is exceptionally well-made. However, as with other Brit films, a certain self-consciousness comes over in as far as Clubbed knows that it will be likened to the other Brit flick lowlife gangsters films which have been made these past ten years and, more pertinently, that is where it will be assumed it target audience is. But clubbed is not just another lowlife gangster film. It is a film examining character, yet I sense that, with one eye on the market - which means the finances, which means not losing money - it feels it has to pull its punches slightly and cannot get as deep into an examination of Danny's psyche as it would have like to have done which, at the end of the day, would have made a good film even better. Finally, it has to be said that the portrayal by Mel Raido - who would be a shoo-in for the title role of any mooted biopic of the great Norman Wisdom - is superb, and that despite the necessary limitations of the script and direction, he gains sympathy for his character Danny, at heart a decent family man who has yet to realise his full potential.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A tremendous British film boasting a strong cast, intelligent script, and a solid story. Tightly edited, the film bounces along mainly due to some superb characterisation. The plot basics are simple. A drifting loser finds boxing,a friendship and purpose, but all at a price.

    Colin Salmon as Head Bouncer Louis dominates proceedings physically with an utterly convincing brooding presence, and a fine acting performance.Shaun Parkes shines as his sidekick Rob, and Mel Raido carries the lead role as Danny with a restrained, under stated performance."Coronation St" fans will spot Nikki Sanderson ( the erstwhile Candice)as Dance Teacher Gee Gee.

    Whilst violent, and crude, the cerebral reflections of Danny, and some wry dialogue ,elevate this above the banal "geezer speak" of some of its genre contemporaries, noticeably the work of Guy Ritchie.Although the bloody "crucifiction scene" echoes one from the seminal "Long Good Friday", Director Neil Thompson succeeds in providing staple ingredients which deliver credibility rather than cliché, with the 95 minute running time just right. It is also far superior to the contemporaneous "Shifty" by Eran Creevy.

    A hidden gem which will stand the test of time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Well what can you say about this film other than six of one and half a dozen of the other. With regards to the good, acting was good, story was good, music was good. The bad points were very sloppy stupid mistakes, The film never at all felt like the 80's it was sometimes hard to get the era. At one point the bouncer even says lets get away from the camera's, there were no camera's back then. The clothes felt mismatched the dancing in the club didn't look right. If you want a lesson on how to recreate the 80's look at "This is England". There were flaws in the ideology of the film and at the end you were left a little flat. Ideolgies of being passive and peaceful contradicted by violent behaviour. That does happen and people are like that but it just didn't work here. Parts of the film seemed real and the behaviour of characters was justified and other parts you were just left in disbelief at certain actions. Whatever this film was trying to achieve it failed and just became a testosterone battle of wills. OK this was the 80's people were angry people fought and these things did happen but if you are going to have that as a feature then at least do it properly, like The Firm for example. An Average 5 for me, this could have been a good film but production let it down.
  • Tired of endless 'Mockney' gangster flicks? Fed up with Danny Dyer? Bored with the same plots and dialogue recycled time after time (think Essex Boys anyone)? Then Clubbed is just the antidote you need.

    Set in Birmingham in the early 1980s, a meek factory work (with a shaded backstory) re-establishes his pride, confidence and even masculinity in the dangerous world of nightclub security. The acting, direction and production values are simply first class; characters are brought to life as three dimensional people with challenges, values, beliefs and problems like everyone else; and, yes, the violence is frequent, messy and sudden - again, just like in real life - but like every other life lesson and action (beneficial or otherwise) contained within this morality play, its use is never without consequences.
  • I rented this as I had some time to kill, and it looked interesting. Wow! Extremely well written, filmed and directed, it goes straight into the some of the best films I have ever seen list.

    Set in the 1980's, it captures the time and pace of the decade and offers a realistic portrayal of club life. Like any good film, some characters are exaggerated for effect but not in a way that detracts from the story.

    Violent in parts, the Director handles it in a way that Hollywood has forgotten. The cast bounce of each other and the lead roles all give superb performances.

    Watch it, then watch it again.
  • aqos-19 June 2009
    I went in to this movie with no expectations and came away happy. This is a story of love and devotion and doing what you feel is the right thing. The main actor reminded me of Bill Moseley visually. He is a dad just trying to do what it takes to keep his girls safe and loved. He decides to try boxing and from this, becomes a club bouncer with the man that is teaching him to fight. The other players at the club are also bouncers. There is a sense of family with all of these men but Sparky. With a baby on the way he makes some bad decisions in order to save money to provide for his family. There is a mobster and his guys involved and this is what complicates the relationships. The end of the movie was very heartwarming. It was nice to see a movie that left me feeling happy and remembering how important our loved ones are.
  • yes,'clubbed' is a low budget movie but is very impressive. I'm a fan of all gangster movies and have seen most British movies too but this really did stand out to me. i thought it was going to be just another 80s wannabe gangster movie,but i was sadly wrong as i was glued to the screen from start to finish.i have never heard of the main character before and have never seen him in anything and its a surprise as he is not a bad actor Colin salmon on the other hand was brilliant as always. it was also nice to see a gangster movie without the main character being a nasty animal who likes to kill people for fun..... yes it is a nice change and hopefully we will see more movies like it.
  • Great British Drama, which depicts the life of a man who lives in constant fear until he meets a group of friends who change that. After meeting outside the gym, the main guy offers him a job as a bouncer, and the main protagonist begins to train hard in order to fit in with his newly found friends.

    Nice meaning as a film and famous phrases such as quotations from Sun Tzu's 'Art of War'. Shows the impact and importance of friends on a person's life.

    Would have been rated much higher if the final fight scene involving the two friends seeking revenge was choreographed and shown, as that would have been a thoroughly entertaining climax.
  • I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this one, but I thought it might be o.k - So I was pleasantly surprised, as I found myself gripped within the first 10 minutes.

    This film is fast paced, so you won't get bored. It just gets on with it and flows nicely throughout. No filler, no overly long dialogue, and no corny subplots.

    Not one for the faint hearted, as adrenaline is sure to pump throughout. Not many movies manage to hit the right spots at the right time, so these guys did a good job.

    The soundtrack is great, and really compliments the action. The acting is realistic, and the casting was superb. You become quite attached to the characters throughout this short journey.

    With action, violence, drama, crime, comedy, and touching moments, this film should appeal to a wide range of people.

    As far as British film goes, this movie is right up there, and possibly in a league of its own.

    A very enjoyable and touching flick, which I'd recommend to anybody - especially fans of British cinema.

    9/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film demanded a second take, especially because of the excellent twist at the end. And a second take still retained the virtual stomach punches and the empathy I felt for the fear and loathing pervading the lives of the bouncers.

    The shockingly crude language lends even more reality to the perilous nastiness that rules the doormen's existence.

    Yet within the scary setting there are some real belly-laughs:

    Louis: "Make a bit of noise and the whole army can be robbed of it's spirit. Sun Tzu." Louis exits. Sparky: "Who the **** is Sun Tzu?" Rob: "How do I know, I don't know all his mates do a?"

    Spotting which one was Neil Morrisey was quite a tease.

    Let me make myself 'crystal' it's expletive deletive brilliant British film-making.
  • collioure_bee16 January 2009
    To be honest, I reckon this knocks spots off any Guy Richie gangland type film. This is British Cinema at it's best and I was left wanting the film to just go on longer. The way it finishes with a blast of Bob Relf's northern soul number Blowing my Mind to Pieces just left you feeling excited about what had gone before. Yes it is brutal in places, funny too, as well as genuinely scary, not scary in the horror film type way but in the scared for the main characters. Brilliantly acted, the soundtrack of decent soul, Gwen Guthrie's Keep the Fire's Burning, Chic's Everybody Dance and even Willie Tee's One Way Street and the fact I found myself caring about the characters kept me hooked on the film right from the beginning. I can't recommend this film enough if you like a good hard film, well constructed with plenty of nostalgia thrown in.
  • As I'm reading the book "Watch my Back" I thought I'd give this film a whirl to see if it's as true to life on the doors and I can safely say it is. Very gritty, violent, foul mouthed and a true look at working the doors. If you're thinking of a career in door work I recommend this file and also the short film "Bouncer" (both written by the same person) as it will show the true side of what it's like, warts and all. Very gripping with an interesting twist in the tale only let down slightly by some dodgy acting (it's a low budget movie though) but well worth a watch for those of you with a strong stomach who are not easily offended by a bit of fresh language.
  • Yes, I liked this movie, and maybe more so because it was British and a mighty welcome change from the guns packed Hollywood gangster flicks.

    This is the tale of a man with his heart on his sleeve but failing his life and thus gets involved in an ever increasing cycle of violence. It is relentless and tense from start to finish, with strong acting, likable characters and some clever twists. Also, the 80s atmosphere is very well rendered, the depiction of gritty cityscapes and torn families is actually...beautiful.

    I strongly recommend it, despite the graphic violence at times which may be disturbing if central to the plot, it has a more realistic and heartfelt touch than most of the movies I've seen.
  • "Clubbed" is yet another 'will-this-do?' entry into the Brit fisticuffs genre and is sure to keep punters who aren't expecting too much moderately entertained for ninety minutes after a few beers. However, for anyone seeking intelligent, quality entertainment it's really best avoided.

    There are so many misnomers in the appalling script that even an actor of the calibre of Colin Salmon is left looking daft. The action is set in the 1980s, but it's never clear why, especially when they haven't been able to pull off any convincing feel for that decade - it takes more than a few 80s soul records on the soundtrack, the occasional zoot suit and a handful of 30-year-old cars. Then we see central characters studying texts such as Sun Tzu's "The Art Of War" and speaking about how violence should be a last resort, while the same characters seem only too willing to start doling out punches with all the testosterone-fuelled, unthinking abandon of a bunch of chavs fighting over a bag of chips.

    Character development does not exist in "Clubbed". Nor does irony, subtlety or pathos. This is a film which trades on fond memories of Guy Richie's early gangster films, which despite their flaws certainly had much more wit, better editing, snappier dialogue and packed more emotional punch than this limp little saga. They're a decade old now, anyway - isn't it time we moved on from trying to emulate them?
  • This film is directed by famous Short film Director Neil Thompson(that's Thompson with a 'p') and written by famous boxer and philosophical genius, Geoff Thompson and stars talented Brit, Mel Raido as a factory worker in the 1980s dealing with divorce and fear in his own ways until he meets a boxer Louis, played by Colin Salmon, after which his life gets a new meaning.

    To put it in a nutshell, this movie isn't your usual Brit Gangster flicks in the lines of Lock, Stock…. or Layer cake or Britain's Godfather, Get Carter. This movie is more of a redemption story and the changes the main character faces. Though this movie sticks to the drama/crime genre and has nothing new to offer, this movie works because of it's in depth character analysis and the director takes his own time to develop the main character on who's life the entire story is focused upon.

    Unlike other British films which usually have tons of movie references, this one has tons of Literary references, mainly in the form of voice overs or visual aids in the form of books(written by Geoff Thompson himself!!). There is also a parallel track about Sparky, one of the boxers played by Scot Williams who doesn't follow the gang's discipline and will go any distance to make easy money.

    Though the film is mostly uphill, it has its own downsides. Well, for starters, the beginning and the ending of the movie is a paradox and doesn't make sense no matter how you look at it. Also, after the movie shifts focus on the other characters, after, half-time, the movie loses it's grip and becomes somewhat predictable. To top it off, the director who has struggled and succeeded throughout the movie to avoid clichés has broken the deadlock and given us a very predictable and clichéd twist.

    On the technical front, the editing is crisp and the camera-work captures the very surroundings of Danny's life with cinematic elegance. Though this movie takes its own time to unfold, you wont be bored because at the end, you feel sympathy for the character and you welcome the change in the him. The director has done well in establishing the depthness of the protagonists and also the other characters.

    Verdict

    I'm going with three out of five for Neil Thompson's Clubbed. It is not your usual British Gangster flick but is a great tell of redemption and change.
  • i watched this movie out of boredom. this was nothing good on TV so i decide to rent a DVD. spent an hour in the shop looking for a good movie to watch. finally decided to get the matrix trilogy and since the store offered a promo to get one free when you rent 3. i started searching for another DVD. there was this one guy who was returning the dvds he rented. in my hurry, i just grabbed one the dvds he was returning. so that's ho i got this.

    and to my surprise, this movie turned out really, really great. the movie plays out to an inner emotion that most men don't usually admit. fear. especially the fear that you can not protect the one you love. it tells the story in a unique and very personal level. you almost feel like you connect to the character and each emotion he portrays is also your own.

    in the end, i felt really satisfied watching the credits. you know that you've watched something great when they roll the credits and you find yourself smiling. i felt good after watching this. unlike most high budget movies nowadays. which leave you dazed and confused and thinking, "what the heck just happened??" goes to show that being a low budget film with almost unknown actors in it doesn't mean that it can't be a great movie. sometimes, all it needs is a connection.

    you'll find plenty of that in this movie. now get your behind off your couch and watch this. :)
  • Just watched this and was blown away, not sure when it is coming to cinema but can't wait to see it again.

    There are not many well-known names in the cast but seems to have found the best of the British talent not yet ruined by Hollywood.

    The initial story is about a factory worker called Danny who is down on his luck and close to suicide, he is recently divorced and even his kids start to see his weaknesses.

    When he starts to involve himself with some new friends at a boxing gym, who work as club doorman, and explores new relationships with people he can trust, his life starts to improve.

    With his new found lifestyle other stories start to evolve. Sparky is finding it hard to resist the pressure and the money coming from the local gangland boss Hennessey. Rob is on a crusade of removing the club of Hennessey's drug pushers and Louis, the head doorman tries to keep them in toe including his new found protégé Danny.

    I was not old enough to remember the eighties but the film felt embroiled with fashion and music that seemed to show the culture of the time.

    There are not many films I can remember getting goose bumps but I was effected several times throughout this film, which is even more surprising considering its genre.

    I have just checked out the films website and there is a trailer, so have a look.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was invited along to a test screening of "Clubbed" earlier this year and have to admit that I was blown away by it. The makers gave a brief speech up front about the history of the film. It is based on a best selling book and is a true story. The film is much better looking than I was expecting. It is more like a gritty Working Title kind of film than a Ken Loach. It is the story of a man who is brutally attacked in front of his children, his life falls apart then he meets the highly enigmatic Louis (Colin Salmon from Alien vs Predator) and is drawn into the world of the nightclub. The film picks up a massive pace then as events begin to roller coaster and things start to go really wrong! There is a great twist too!

    There was a lot to like about this film. It looks great and it really really moved me. Especially knowing it is true. It is quite harrowing in places but has enough humour in it not to drag you down. The soundtrack is spectacular and has tracks from Chic, Sister Sledge and Forget Me Nots, the Men in Black tune.

    The cast is great. I have not seen the lead guy in anything before but he is AMAZING! Looks like Mel Gibson meets Daniel Day Lewis. Colin Salmon is in there too and this has to be the performance of his life.

    To give a balanced review I guess I should put some negatives in but it just really moved me. I was expecting a film about a thug but found a film about a guy who just happens to be in the wrong place and wrong time and is forced to make some really big decisions. There is some fairly heavily violent scenes in there, one springs to mind in particular where the woman next to me put her paper over her head, and the language is quite heavy. But there was a big age range in the theatre and everyone seemed to love it. it got a standing ovation at the end!

    The film makers said it will be out towards August or September. I think this film is the next Long Good Friday. Actually it is a bit like a cross between the Full Monty and The Long Good Friday. Go see this film!!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Gangster, geezer, Brit flicks have become some what of a tradition, in fact there's probably enough for a whole genre or at least a shelf in HMV.

    So when a friend of mine invited me to a preview screening of CLUBBED I was expecting it to have the same credentials, but scratch beneath the surface and here is a film with a heart all the way through it like a stick of Blackpool rock. It is an absolute gem!

    A depressed and downtrodden father already separated and scraping a living is beaten up in front of his kids. This incident spurs him on to confront his fears and he meets the guru of the piece Louis at a down at heel boxing gym who teaches him to stand his ground and not take any crap. The guys are all doormen at a local night club and Danny (our hero) soon becomes part of the gang and ready to do his stint on the door with resultant beatings and bloodstains. That's when things get really nasty...

    With stunning performances from a great home grown British cast (the guy who plays Sparky in particular really stands out) and an old school 70's and '80s soundtrack, make this is a stand out Brit flick which should be massive.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw an official pre-release screening of Clubbed at the Prince Charles cinema in London's Leicester Square and like the majority of the capacity audience I queued up outside with, I was totally blown away. I didn't know what to expect as the director was making his Feature debut and on the surface it looked like a period Brit flick. However, anyone expecting a Guy Ritchie/Nick Love style movie set in the 80's would have been very mistaken, and gladly so! Clubbed contains everything that those dreadful British Crime films fails to have, and that's HEART...One might think that a film set on the club doors of a violent midlands city in the thatcher ruined 80's might be a perfect vehicle for a bone breaking blood fest, and on one hand it is, for there is no denying it is a violent film, but the violence in Clubbed (as opposed to other British crime films) is there because it 'has' to be and not because the writer/director had too many 'lovely' testosterone flakes for breakfast. It is there to depict the average night in the life of a club doorman. The violence is therefore a barred window into their souls, their heart. Usually, (much like bad love scenes) scenes of violence can seem like an interlude, a perfect time to nip out for pop corn...but not in Clubbed. I'm sure this is down to the life of the writer Geoff Thompson, a Bafta winning writer who apparently spent almost 2 decades on the doors. Indeed after the screening he took to the stage to inform us that everything we saw actually happened! Frightening really. Thompson, (apart from a rather slow and over narrated first 10 minutes) has scribbled an interesting script. It's basically a story about fear (something we all have) and how to conquer it. "What does one do when ones only fear...is fear itself"? Then we come to the acting, and in my opinion this is where the film really excels, this is where clubbed stands apart from the usual suspects. Sadly the film industry, especially here in Britain is far too formulaic and it's all too easy to imagine what clubbed might have looked like if the non-risk taking hands of Ritchie or Love (and others). Jason Stathem and Danny 'is' Dyer stamping their mockney hard man (really as hard as candy floss) reebok classics all over it. No, rest assured, there certainly wont be a free copy of 'Clubbed' with every issue of NUTS or LOADED magazine. Thank god the producers took the risks and cast an ensemble of absolute ability over marketability. What we see is easily Colin Salmons finest performance (and the closest to himself apparently), a wonderfully still leading presence in the shape of Mel Raido, a fine subtle hero etched out by Shaun Parkes, and the absolute screen stealing electricity of Scott Williams, a truly iconic performance that will surely be remembered for time to come in the manner of Begbee (or sick boy if only for the hair). I hope this film is marketed correctly and in the right category for if it is, it will surely be a hit and the producers deserve it to be just that. Look out for it...Oh, and did I mention the amazing soundtrack!
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