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Rise Of The Footsoldier; culture films 18 Starring: Ricci Harnett, Terry Stone, Craig Fairbrass Director: Julian Gilbey. (1hr 59mins).

WRITTEN by brothers William and Julian Gilbey, and directed by the latter, Rise Of The Footsoldier is a bloodthirsty, true-life account of violence and retribution in the late 1980s and early 90s.

The narrator is a hooligan who escapes the terraces to stamp his mark (the bottom of his boot) on the burgeoning gangland scene.

He's a nasty piece of work and the same can be said of Gilbey's film, which relishes the violent encounters that pepper the central protagonist's rise to infamy.

Male characters are cardboard cut-outs defined by how much they snarl and swear or how merrily they torture their enemies.

There is no attempt to probe the psychology of this brotherhood of savages, what binds the men or drives them to such horrific actions.

The film culminates in the infamous shotgun slaying at Rettenden, Essex, which previously inspired the forgettable crime thriller Essex Boys.

"I was a married man but football was my mistress and I played away every weekend," explains bully boy Carlton Leach (Ricci Harnett) in droll voice-over.

As hooliganism escalates, the Government attempts to seize back the terraces from the thugs through no-tolerance policing.

Recognising that his reign is coming to an end, Leach tries his bloodied hand as a bouncer.

He is soon peddling drugs inside the Essex clubs and injecting himself full of steroids.

With the rave scene exploding around him, Carlton becomes embroiled in deadly power games within the firm, clashing with heavies and their henchmen, including Pat Tate (Craig Fairbrass).

Rise Of The Footsoldier has nothing to distinguish it from the glut of recent thrillers that purport to show the ugly face of crimeland Britain.

**

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BULLY: Craig Fairbrass as Pat Tate in Rise of the Footsoldier.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 7, 2007
Words:288
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