Firm, The (2008)
87 mins
Paul Anderson, Daniel Mays
Nick Love
Allan Niblo, James Richardson
United Kingdom
On an unnamed London housing estate Bex (Paul Anderson) kisses his wife and young child goodbye. He goes to a pay phone and calls his arch rival the Yeti (Daniel Mays), the cool social niceties of their conversation soon giving way to cold blooded threats. They are arranging a fight between their respective firms, style conscious groups of football fans whose club allegiances unite them in a furious antipathy against each other. Elsewhere on the estate Dom (Calum MacNab) and Terry (Billy Seymour) idly fill their day, smoking joints, causing mischief and wondering what else there is to life. At a club later than night Terry tries to pick a fight with a guy he considers too flash. Bex brutally punishes this presumption. Next day when the boys learn that their names have been revealed to Bex they understand the serious trouble they are in. Dom goes to Bex’s local pub, the Nelson, to apologise. Terry follows shamefaced and frightened. Bex is impressed by Dom’s courage in coming there, Dom in turn is seduced by Bex’s charisma. He goes to the estate agency where Bex works, and together they visit the sports shop opposite where Dom’s eyes are opened to the stylings of the casual movement. Gradually he is inducted into Bex’s firm, his courage further proved on the road by his standing up to goading rivals. As Dom evolves into a casual in Bex’s image he grows apart from Terry. His loving parents Bob (Eddie Webber) and Shel (Camille Coduri) are bemused by these changes but indulge him. He remains blissfully unaware that Bex is increasingly driven by his pathological desire to get Yeti. An attempt to unite the disparate firms and head to Europe in support of the English national team is defeated by government measures to curb football hooliganism abroad. The acceptance of Dom by his new friends is to be sealed when he is blooded, cut with a Stanley knife and marked with ink to permanently mark him as a part of the group. It proves an initiation ritual with an unexpected twist. Later Dom turns up at the Nelson wearing the same red Tarrinda tracksuit as Bex, a blunder that Trigger merciless exploits and finishes by questioning the nature of Dom’s infatuation with Bex. Bex is amused but does not intervene. He later tells Dom he must stand up to Trigger. An aborted attack on the Yeti’s firm prompts Bex to lead a calculated assault on a stray member of his gang later that night. They give him a merciless beating. Dom is sickened by the violence but Bex finds it funny. When they return they find their cars have been vandalised, apparently by the Yeti. Bex’s obsession with revenge becomes all consuming. Spitting insults down the phone to his nemesis he doesn’t notice his son has found his knife. Wife Suzy is furious and upset. She slaps him and tells him to grow up. Bex visits Dom where he is working with his builder father, Bob. In a tense exchange Bex makes it clear who’s in charge and the well meaning Bob is powerless to prevent his son going off with him. Some of Bex’s firm are concerned about the escalating violence, Snowy (Richie Campbell) telling him that he wants out. Dom’s desire to quit will be not be tolerated by an increasingly unpredictable Bex. A showdown with the Yeti is the only thing that will satisfy him and as that day draws nearer it is clear that when it’s finally over nothing will be the same again....more