DVD: Clubbed (18)

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

This British gangster film, set in Coventry in the 1980s, tells the story of Danny (Mel Raido), a divorced father-of-two who finds his life is at a dead end.

Hated by his ex-wife (an underused Maxine Peake) and targeted by local thugs, the factory worker is one of life's losers. He finds a new purpose when he falls in with a trio of nightclub bouncers, led by the charismatic Louis (Colin Salmon). Through them he learns how to fight, becoming one of the gang and gaining some self-respect in the process. When the group get on the wrong side of local drug lord Hennessy (Ronnie Fox), things turn ugly and Danny quickly finds himself out of his depth.

Loosely based on the writer and former doorman Geoff Thompson's autobiography, Clubbed tries to find its own place in the crowded market of home-grown gangster flicks, but only partially succeeds. As a period piece it is well observed, thanks to a fantastic soundtrack. But Raido is poor in the lead, failing to make Danny either sympathetic or relatable, while none of the other characters are particularly compelling. There are also moments of violence – including one particularly disturbing scene – that appear to have been included for shock value rather than for any artistic worth. As a result, Clubbed doesn't manage to hit the mark, either as a gritty crime drama or as a piece of blokey escapism.