CASS: A Review

On Monday I attended the Premiere of CASS, the dramatised life story of former football hooligan Cass Pennant. I’ve never been a great fan of hooligan films, although I did enjoy GREEN STREET, but more for the soundtrack than anything. Terence Jay’s ONE BLOOD is one of my all time favourite songs.

Anyway, I digress. I met the winner of the competition I rang and his girlfriend and also took a friend from work, who has never been to a football match in his life but does enjoy kick boxing. Somehow I thought he’d enjoy it. Having never walked down a movie premiere red carpet in my life I have to say I quite enjoyed the experience. The only celebrity I saw there was Frank Bruno!

The film started as it meant to go on, with a stream of abusive swear words in the first thirty seconds. Oh Christ, I thought, here we go. But I was soon hooked. And that’s how I know if I em enjoying a film. I have to be drawn in within the first five minutes otherwise my attention wanders and I keep looking at my watch.

I won’t rehearse the story here as you all know it. The heady mix of racial understones and ever present violence told a gripping tale. How much of it was real and how much of it was hyped up for dramatic effect is something Cass Pennant and his friends know.

Did it glorify violence? I’m not sure that’s the correct phrase. I guess in some ways the film tried to explain it, partly by blaming it all on Margaret Thatcher. Her appearance midway through the film slightly jarred, but perhaps I am not the most impartial commentator on that subject!

The film ends with our supposed hero seeing the error of his ways, but it all happened rather suddenly, like an epiphany. I haven’t read Cass Pennant’s books, but I’d bet that it didn’t quite happen in that way in real life.

The heroine of the film was Cass Pennant’s long suffering wife, who somehow stayed with him through thick and thin.

After we had left the cinema I kept asking myself if I would have enjoyed the film if I hadn’t suppprted West Ham? If I were an Arsenal fan, would I get it? And I still don’t know the answer. The box office figures will soon tell us.


14 Responses to CASS: A Review

  1. Civilised Fan says:

    Please, don’t encourage this drivel. Chavs of whatever football hue will no doubt lap this nonsense up. Stellar opening night then…Frank Bruno!!! must have been a very shallow ”celebrity” barrel they scraped for that one.
    Bored of this now, can you get back to writing a blog about West Ham and not about the excrement that latched itself onto the club. I await a stream of abuse from moronic thugs both past and present…

  2. jackHammer says:

    I hope you are open to criticism Iain, but is this all you have to offer as a west ham fan and blogger, then its hardly worth you running this site anymore. This article is more about your dreary hopes of being a celebrity than about the movie, after reading the red carpet crap i ecided not to read anymore as i felt quite sick reading about you and not the Movie.

  3. Iain Dale says:

    Jackhammer, you’re right. I will shut the site down.

  4. jackHammer says:

    a little childish maybe?

  5. Iain Dale says:

    Possibly. Possibly also tongue in cheek. But not half as childish as slagging off a review you admit you only read the first two paragraphs of.

  6. jackHammer says:

    come on Iain, getting passed reading about you and Bruno would have made the film sound boring đŸ™‚

  7. Van Der Elst says:

    Unfortunately, hoolganism is a part of West Ham : we’ve all experienced it in one way or another. So this is a valid post. Personally, I’d have liked a bit more colour about the event itself and your impression of and/or the thoughts of Pennant. I guess he was there and you could have approached him?

  8. clack says:

    Reading this and your other thread on the spat in the USA ; Iain, you seem very confused on the whole subject of football hooliganism.

    Which is ok because it’s a very confusing subject, especially for West Ham fans, as the ICF is so legendary.

    I don’t want to give an opinion as I don’t really have one. Like you I am very confused about it all, but as someone who traveled away a lot in the 80’s, often with the ICF, on the same trains etc, I would just like to point out the following facts:

    The idea that the ICF/West Ham hooligans protected the ordinary fans and only fought when attacked is wrong. They were looking for it as much as any other club’s hooligans.

    It’s a myth that firms only fought one another and ordianry fans didn’t get hurt. Perhaps that was the code among the top boys of the firms, but I saw first hand many ordinary fans and members of the general public getting caught up in the violence and seriously hurt.

    LOts of older WEst Ham fans stopped going to Upton Park in the mid 80’s beacsue of theviolence. My Grandad, for example, wh had been going all his mlife, stopped going. Attendances were very low during that period (down to 12,000 and 16,000 for some home games the season we finished 3rd).

    The WHU board banned a lot of the ICF from Upton Park. But allowed the makers of Green St, a film about the ICF to film in and around the Boleyn Stadium (for which the WHU board) – if that isn’t hypocrisy, or an example of how confusing a subject it is!!!

    The film Green ST was a success in the USA and now means WEst Ham UNited is associated with hooligans and violence rather than football in that country. (No doubt the Cass fim will enhance that aswell).

    I met a 30 yr old USA man in Brazil last year. He knew nothing about football but knew all about West Ham and the ICF because of that film and was very interested in it all.

  9. clack says:

    For which the WHU board were paid that should say

    (for opening up the ground and allowing the makers of Green ST to film scenes in it – a film about the ICF and violence that, as a result, means the name WEst Ham is more associaited with hooligans rather than football in the USA).

  10. RunningHammer says:

    if I remember correctly, the producers of Green Street duped the club into allowing them to film in the stadium by not being totally forthcoming and honest in advance regarding the film’s subject matter. I think the board were furious when they found out what the film was about but the damage had been done by then.

    At least, I remember that being the story the club came out with at the time!

  11. clack says:

    What on earth did they think the film would be about then?

  12. clack says:

    What on earth did they think the film would be about then!!!!!!

  13. Biffo the bear says:

    Green Street was a truly awful film, badly written with bad casting and worse acting. Perhaps that’s why it did so well in the states?
    Anyway, hopefully Cass is better. The book, I think, is quite good, the story of a mans life so far. I though ‘Footsoldier’ was a good film. The people in these books and films experienced a very violent time and, if done well, can give us a bit of an insight into why this was.

    Green Street just had a hobbit in it.

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