Cass Review

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A biopic based on the life of Cass Pennant, an orphaned Jamaican baby adopted by an elderly white couple and brought up in an all-white area of London, who became one of the most feared football crew leaders in Britain.


If, as Thatcher had it, hooligans were “the English disease”, Cass Pennant was hopelessly contaminated with the thug bug - 6’ 5” of black male rage who found acceptance on West Ham’s bearpit terraces. This chest-beating biopic charts his defiant rise in a racist Britain, from Barnardo’s stray to bullied schoolkid to top boy at überfirm the ICF, and lays on the questionable folk hero treatment with a shovel. The daunting Anozie is monolithic in the lead, and the soundtrack and ’80s yob nostalgia is spot on. Less appealing is a ploddy pace and a clumsily handled bid at redemption that rings horribly hollow. In the league of hooligan pics: above Green Street, below I. D., nowhere near The Firm.

A fair effort which does nothing to beat it's way out of a crowded genre.