A bunch of Oxford University toffs (including Max Irons, Sam Claflin and Douglas Booth) indulge their every whim as members of an elite club.
Adapting her hit 2010 play, Posh, for the screen, Laura Wade takes a hit-and-miss satirical swipe at the excesses of the Riot Club (inspired by the real-life Bullingdon Club).
The fact that we are both repelled and seduced by the members’ floppy-haired antics works in the story’s favour, creating dramatic tension that would be missing were this simply class-envy agitprop.
Wade and director Lone Scherfig have opened up the play, allowing for scenes of rich types swanking around Oxford’s dreaming spires in an Aston Martin convertible and providing a love interest for the film’s moderately sympathetic protagonist (Irons) in the form of Holliday Grainger’s working-class, comprehensive-educated student.
Irons’ pangs of conscience make a sharp contrast to the sneering hatred of his fellow club novice, Claflin’s venomous sociopath.
The pair’s rivalry comes to a head when the club hires a private dining room in a country gastro pub for its latest bash, planning to get drunk and smash up the place. But, as they flaunt their wealth and become increasingly out of hand, things turn very nasty…
The true horror, though, isn’t the violence committed by these arrogant young bucks, but the fact that their privileged backgrounds and connections insulate them from the consequences of their actions and ensure they remain on the fast track to power.