The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan
Crowded terraces, a rioting mob, the St George’s Cross – the accompanying artwork to The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan would lead you to believe you’re about to witness some sort of hardcore deconstruction of national identity and football. Fittingly, we open on a shaky cam post-match riot in full swing as punk rock screams on the soundtrack and our narrator and anti-hero Mike (Nevern) declares his love for everything football, which includes shouting at the filth, setting fire to other people’s cars, and generally being the angriest, most shaven-headed, Londonest man alive.
Elsewhere, however, things are not so simple for poor old Mike. Terminally skint and unemployed, he’s sadly obliged to abandon his hardest-geezer-in-the-boozer persona around his sensible girlfriend and transform into a coy and cutesy baby man so that she’ll indulge his increasingly desperate financial position and basically be his Mum – a situation she puts up with presumably because Mike’s eyes communicate the possibility of exciting dirty shags, although whether she gets the shags or not is anyone’s guess.
One day while shouting angrily in the street, Mike runs into old friend and fellow angry man Eddie (Phillips) who, over a post-aggro pint, offers Mike a job delivering mysterious packages to unidentified destinations, an offer Mike accepts despite the fact that Eddie is obviously dodgier than one of those hotdogs you eat after the checkouts in IKEA. Unsurprisingly Eddie turns out to be middle management in a large criminal organisation specialising in chip and pin fraud, and it’s from around this point that any potentially engaging Englishman/football/relationship content previously established begins to be mindlessly pissed up the nightclub wall. Mike becomes increasingly embroiled with the hoods, and the predictable cocaine-fuelled blowjob-on-the-loo highs followed by violent in-too-deep crash play out.
In fact it’s pretty pointless my pontificating on the numerous reasons The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan is such a terrible film because, frankly, I am not the target audience here. There is, my sources inform me, a market for this kind of straight to DVD Ritchie-esque romp, and that market does not include effete cineastes who enjoy nothing more than watching the entire Maurice Pialat box set in one sitting and referring to themselves as ‘effete cineastes’. No – I shall CONFOUND THE GLOBE by listing some of the things I DID like about The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan and there are exactly TWO of them…
ONE – leading man Nick Nevern is quite good. Sometimes. Apart from having all the exciting eyes, about two thirds of the way through the film in what is far and away the movie’s best scene he gives us a ten second outburst of something that looks very like emotional authenticity. TWO – there are no tits in this film. It would have been so very easy for the filmmakers to throw in a bit of titty-lation for the lads, but they don’t. The only sex scene is very discreetly shot and the nightclub poles remain resolutely dancer-free.
Despite this refreshingly female-friendly stance, it’s doubtful this film’s aforementioned target market is going to include many women – unless of course they’re the kinds who enjoy football and lager and punching people nearly to death. Those women should definitely watch it. In fact all women should. ALL WOMEN should be forcibly tied to chairs and made to watch The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan – whatever – just don’t make me watch it again. Please.