Director Nick Love knows how to pick up a poisoned chalice. In choosing to tackle a modern day take on Alan Clarkes 1989 The Firm, he risks the wrath of upsetting those who regard the original so highly, while also being accused of jumping aboard the remake bandwagon. As it turns out, though, he gets away with it all. Loves version of The Firm wisely uses the early film as inspiration rather than a firm template.
Thus, while the setting remains underground football violence, Love switches the attention to a different character, the youngster breaking into the crowd. This allows the narrative to focus on his becoming accepted by the group, and then his struggle to break free, which settles into a solid three-act story. It's very much aimed at an adult audience, but that doesn't mean that The Firm is a cheap piece of cinema. Far from it, as it happens. Loves film mixed in sharp violence with sparks of humour, and does so to very good effect. In the process, it sidesteps comparisons to the original by simply going off in a different direction, and works well because of it. It's a little more tempered than some of Nick Loves earlier work too, but perhaps as a consequence, it's also his best film to date.
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