Though the likes of Douglas Booth (as the group's heartthrob) and Natalie Dormer (as a high-class call girl) are hardly stretched, the performances are uniformly good and the two leads are able to anchor the action admirably. Sebastian Blenkov's cinematography is also fabulous, lending the film a suitably decadent air when necessary and making the most of Oxford's dreaming spires while he can. The main problem is that in amongst all of this there's little room for any real exploration of character or class, save for the most cursory observations. The purpose of the film is to illustrate the destructive and inculpable nature of these entitled reprobates, yet as proceedings escalate to ever more outlandish levels the real issues - and deserved indignation - are lost in the hyperbole. The Riot Club is a welcome attempt to rail against aristocratic entitlement and makes for a compelling watch; it's just a shame that the message is drowned in the bacchanal.
This review of The Riot Club was originally published on 7 September as part of our full Toronto Film Festival coverage.