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||IMDB Rating: 6.5/10 from votes
||Release: 1 August 2008 (UK) /
||Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama
||Director: Jon S. Baird,
||Stars: Azaria Omaboe, Bronson Webb, Carl Fairweather, Gavin Brocker, Joe Siffleet, Leo Gregory, Linda Bassett, Lorraine Stanley, Natalie Press, Nonso Anozie, Paul Kaye, Peter Wight, Rory Jennings, Tamer Hassan, Verelle Roberts
||Synopsis: An orphaned Jamaican baby, adopted by an elderly white couple and brought up in an all white area of London, became one of the most feared and respected men in Britain. CASS grew up in a time before political correctness and was forced to endure racist bullying on a daily basis, until one day when the years of pent up anger came out in a violent burst. CASS found through violence the respect he never had and became addicted to the buzz of fighting. His way of life finally caught up with him when an attempted assassination on his life, saw him shot three times at point blank range. His inner strength somehow managed to keep him alive but he was left with a dilemma; whether to seek vengeance as the street had taught him, or renounce his violent past. Written by Anonymous
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Watch Cass - Alternative Versions.
As a contemporary of Pennant, and veteran of the 1970's and 1980's
terrace culture,I was keen for this film to succeed. Sadly, with some
good intentions, it fails, and joins the other flawed attempts to
recreate the halcyon days of the hooligan. The authenticity of the
background to the film is often well observed. But Director Jon Baird
fails to have the expertise, or I suspect the budget, to faithfully
realise the period..
Pennant's biography is well written, and a good read. It also covers
over 40 years. A 108 minute screen running time, was always likely to
be crippled by compromise, vignette and crude symbolism, and so it
turns out. His story does have dramatic potential and sociological
significance but neither Baird nor Pennant have the discipline or know-
how to deliver it.
For lovers of football violence, there is not a lot of it. Three 20 a
side rucks with Wolves, Leeds and Newcastle are the set pieces. For an
18 Certificate the grizzly reality of these confrontations is pretty
sanitised giving succour to the dreamy, romantic retrospection that it
was just like minded boys fighting, and finding a sense of family in
The key scene when one of Pennants lieutenants gets jumped by three
Arsenal thugs and is slashed to ribbons needing 1000 stitches is
strangely understated .Its setting is grimly authentic, three against
one, the assailants armed, no chance of defence or escape for the
victim. Yet we see only the healed welts on the victims face some time
later, not the grim reality of a cowardly, bloody attack.
As a child the casual racism and bullying which "Carol" suffers,
alongside a complete lack of personal identity, is well observed.
Bravely, time is also found for racism he suffers at the hands of a
black Rasta in jail. When his mother dies unexpectedly, his remorse at
not having told her how much he loved her is genuinely poignant. Sadly
though, these promising scenes are sketched in the same shorthand as
the violent ones , which is very frustrating.
The "rucks" themselves are fleshed out with some ageing faces from the
past, Bill Gardener,Mark Chester from Stoke, and Gilly from Wolves
amongst them. It does not help the realism of the scenes to have time
worn middle aged men in amongst what was a pretty exclusively young
crowd at the time. This sop to some old boys to enable them to relive
their youth is pretty risible. Equally Pennant himself appears
uncredited as a bouncer alongside Frank Bruno, also uncredited.West
Ham's North Bank and Chicken Run are not mentioned once, the South Bank
gets two unreferenced name checks.
One of the best moments in the book is when Pennant steps in to save a
random black kid from getting a beating from some racist skinheads
only to discover that he has saved Frank Bruno! Pennants close
subsequent links with the boxing fraternity are only dealt with in
short hand in the film and his chance meeting with a similarly
incarcerated Ambrose Mendy left out all together, as is, inexplicably,
his "saving" of Bruno.
Virtual unknown Nonso Anozeo, successfully carries off the role of the
adult Pennant.Tamer Hassan plays a convincing cameo as boxer Ray..
Otherwise the ensemble provides background only to the main events.
However the fundamental rush of football hooliganism, the massed
clashes of sometimes several thousand protagonists is missing. As
others have found ,it is very difficult to recreate with so many of the
old grounds gone. What grounds and stands do remain are out of bounds
to "hoolie" film makers from clubs eager to protect their sanitised
The hackneyed use of Thatcherite film clips as she pronounces on a
subject she knows nothing about is cheap and adds nothing. Amusingly,
shots of the infamous Millwall riot at Luton are shown twice, but
Millwall, the ICF's great rivals are not mentioned once.
As a stand alone bio pic this is poor. Pennant is no Mandela. If you
were there, there is enough to keep your interest but not enough to win
your praise. In aiming to be more than a "hoolie film", this bio pic
tries to achieve much, but ultimately falls victim to its own over
ambition and vanity.
Tags for Cass Full Movie
, Bronson Webb
, Carl Fairweather
, Gavin Brocker
, Joe Siffleet
, Leo Gregory
, Linda Bassett
, Lorraine Stanley
, Natalie Press
, Nonso Anozie
, Paul Kaye
, Peter Wight
, Rory Jennings
, Tamer Hassan
, Verelle Roberts
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