The Riot Club is a thinly disguised version of Oxford’s Bullingdon Club. Membership is by invitation only and restricted to very wealthy, former public schoolboys. Membership of the Riot Club enhances one’s prospects of reaching the upper echelons of the Establishment. The first half of the film deals with the Club’s initiation tests and a romance between a new club member and a northern state-educated female. There were some funny moments in this part of the film. One problem I had was that all the Club members were portrayed as stereotypical ex-public schoolboys so that they all looked and sounded the same to me and I had difficulty telling one character from another. Interestingly in the film itself one outsider remarks ‘They all look the same to me.’
The second half of the film covers the Club dinner; a white-tie affair in the Club’s own uniform held in a gastro pub outside town. But unlike the Bullingdon Club whose dinners merely involve smashing up restaurants and paying over the odds for the damage, the Riot Club night out gets very nasty and ends with serious violence. The nastiness wasn’t just in the violence; the Riot Club members really loathed people who did not share their background. I felt this was over the top; a less ham-fisted more satirical approach would have made a better film. 2 stars.