This is the TV movie The Firm directed by Alan Clarke in 1989 and badly, very badly remade in 2009.
Clarke was THE best director working in the UK for a long time before his untimely death. This film was part of the Screen Two series and is 70 minutes of explosive energy, It’s Gary Oldman’s greatest performance and features many faces familiar to us now from TV soaps.
This would never get on British TV today, this wouldn’t even get past the first draft. The script by the late Al Hunter is fantastic, filled with banter between men and women, friends and enemies and husbands and wives.
Walking is a big thing in Alan Clarke films. Watch how many scenes start with Oldman and his firm walking somewhere, through a tower block, down a street etc.
Football violence and young men looking to make their names as ‘hardmen’ was something anyone who grew up in the 1970s and 80s in the UK will be well aware of. This film and Awaydays seem to me to be the most accurate films about that time.
See this, more than once. The clip below should get you into it 😉
So, 97 films to go!
Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script writer for hire and filmmaker for hire for over 20 years.