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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Cass (2008) - Jon S. Baird

Cass is a gritty part biopic, part coming of age film following the life of a young black orphan raised by a white family in the east end of London, all based on a true story of a former football hooligan who is now a succesful author and family man.

The films main focus to begin with is young Carol Pennants (Carol being Cass's real name his estranged Jamaican parents gave to him which he hates which a passion due to cruel jibes from bullies) struggle with racism in a narrow minded society unable to get deal with the change in multiculturism in lower class Britain, it does make for uncomfortable viewing early on but its well played upon and helps the viewer make in instant connection with Cass. In one of the early scenes in 1960s Wolverhampton in which a young Cass and his friends get their first taste of hooliganism is brilliantly done, we him make his first connection with the ICF (West hams notorious branch of football hooligans the Inter City Firm) who have been covered heavily in other films the firm and green street.

Fast forward to the distant future where Cass is now one of the leaders of the ICF, he is played by Actor Nonso Anozie an actor with a truely menacing pyshique and demenour we get a great impression of what Cass as a leader, who himself has stood up in the face adversity and made a stand. Cass considers himself a proud east londoner who will stand toe to toe with his West Ham brothers to protect the ICFs reputation. Kudos goes to casting for having Leo Gregory on set as Cass's right hand man the Green Street veteran fits brilliantly into the role as lieutenant as well as injecting a little bit of comedy into his role as well.

As well as focusing on Cass's time leading the ICF to battle in various footballing cities across the country (In the film we see the ICF visit Leeds and Newcastle) we focus on Cass's time spent in prison, where once again the theme of race rears its head once more, this is the turning point in Cass's life and the viewer is led to believe that perhaps this is the end of his reign over the firm as Cass gets into a relationship with a young lady Elaine (Played by Natathalie Press) and has responsibilitys to think about. Without giving too much of the plot away we see the plot thicken hastility into a downwards spiral for cass after a run in with a rival firm when all was looking up.

Throughout the film we have a voiceover heralding us through the life of Cass, this is not perticuarly needed in order for it all to work as it isnt difficult for the viewer to follow, although it does add a certain sense of realism and helps us engage on a more personal level with Cass, which for one i felt carried me nicely through the entire film.

Cass is a gripping tale of one mans fight with society for acceptance and an escape from a violent past after finding an adoptive family in his band of east london hooligans. The film had a great cast and was well made, it certinarly made me want to know more about the man himself and has given me an appetite for gritty british films which didnt perticularly appeal to me beforehand.

Overal Grade: B+

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