Riot Club, The (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 1-Apr-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Madman Propaganda x 4
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 106:31
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Lone Scherfig
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Max Irons
Sam Claflin
Holliday Grainger
Douglas Booth
Sam Reid
Ben Schnetzer
Jessica Brown Finlay

Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Kasper Winding


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Miles (Max Irons) and Alistair (Sam Claflin) are two freshmen students at Oxford University and they meet when they arrive for the start of their first academic year. Both are from the wealthy and privileged class and Alistair is following in the footsteps of his elder brother. In his first days Miles meets Lauren (Halliday Granger), an intelligent, down to earth girl who is not from the aristocracy and they become friends and lovers.

     At Oxford The Riot Club has existed for centuries: it is an exclusive drinking club open to only the most privileged of the privileged and past members have risen to the highest ranks of the government and judiciary. Each year the club has only ten members, by invitation only, and through their connections both Miles and Alistair are invited to join and they undergo the pranks and initiation rituals in order to belong. Lauren cautions Miles that “these people are not your friends” but Miles is keen. Each year The Riot Club holds a special dinner where, as older member Hugo (Sam Reid) notes, “debauchery is raised to an art”. Because of previous damage and misdemeanours the club has been banned from all places around Oxford so this year they have booked a room at an unsuspecting rural pub. There, in the course of the night, alcohol, drugs and testosterone mixed together create a potent cocktail where pranks turn to violence, and the club members turn on their own.

     The Riot Club is written by Laura Wade, who expanded her own play Posh which premiered in 2010. It is a very English story and is apparently based upon a drinking club at Oxford which boasted David Cameron as one of its members. Surprisingly, this story about English class and privilege was directed by Dane Lone Scherfig who won a Golden Bear at Berlin in 2001 for Italian for Beginners; in her interview on this Blu-ray she admits that she was fascinated by the British class system so she obviously found something appealing about the story. I suppose some do find fascination in watching hedonistic, spoiled, indulged, filthy rich English adolescents getting drunk, acting badly and smashing up a pub, safe in the knowledge that the establishment and their money will protect them and cover up their appalling behaviour. It is true that the film does not quite condone their behaviour, but it still seems to be intrigued by these examples of the English upper classes; none of them really are punished and only a pub owner, trying to run a business, is hurt physically and financially. The Establishment in the UK clearly lives on and maintains its privileges.

     With a group of ten young male actors it was inevitable that there will be some blurring of roles; most do a good job with the material with perhaps Max Irons (son of Jeremy Irons), Douglas Booth, as Harry, and Sam Reid the best. Sam Claflin is less effective, but he has to deliver some of the most stagy dialogue so perhaps can be forgiven.

     In the interviews in the extras on this Blu-ray a number of the interviewees say that these guys are charming and interesting while producer Peter Czernin states that it is important that you like these young men. I didn’t, so watching a group of filthy rich, spoiled rotten, upper class hedonistic, arrogant, self-centred English brats acting badly left me underwhelmed. But that may just be me.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The Riot Club is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The print is not one to show off your Blu-ray set up. Much of the film is shot in a diffused light with numerous incidents of glare when a light source is behind the actor. Close-ups are fine, but longer shots seem lacking in detail, some shadow detail is indistinct and contrast can vary. Colours are muted and glossy, blacks are solid, while skin tones under lights have that yellowish tinge.

     The print was free of other artefacts and marks.

     There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is an English DTS-MA HD 5.1 track.

     Dialogue was occasionally unclear where subtitles would have helped. Although the film did not require a loud audio presence the surrounds and rears were used subtly throughout the film for ambient sound, music, voices in the pub scenes, cars and shotguns in one scene. The destruction at the dinner is also well rendered. The subwoofer provided appropriate support to the music, pub ambience, destruction and car engines.

     The music by Kasper Winding was baroque in places, which suited the tone of the film.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Interviews – Cast and Crew

     A succession of short interview sound bites after a text on screen. The interviewees are:

     Stuff covered includes the plot, their characters, working with each other, the director, the play and the British class system. Pretty superficial.

Theatrical Trailer (2:17)

Madman Propaganda (8:38)

    Trailers for Jimi: All IS On My Side, Locke, How I Live Now and The Look of Love.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There is not currently a Region A Blu-ray release of The Riot Club. There are no reviews of the Region B UK version, but I would guess it is probably the same as ours.

Summary

     I did not find these people charming, likeable or fascinating and the only voice of reason, and the most likeable person, was the working class Lauren, a character who was not in the original play. But then I am not likely to be the target audience for this film. There is nothing wrong with the filmmaking or the acting, so if the subject matter looks interesting The Riot Club may be worth a watch.

     The video looks soft, the audio is good. Extras are superficial, but there are some.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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