Scherfig balances An Education’s idealisation of Oxford University with this saga of undergraduate decadence and debauchery.
The first act, particularly the prologue, verges into seemingly unintentional self-parody, but the talented young actors (two of whom appeared in last week’s Pride) make the languid opening deserving of perseverance.
Despite the theme of tradition the script is remarkably contemporary, and largely without the cringe factor that often accompanies youth colloquialisms deployed on screen.
It’s easy to imagine how the extended dinner scene could have become stagey, but Scherfig fully utilises her medium, employing claustrophobic closeups and handheld camerawork as the excess escalates.
A finely-crafted combination of high drama and observant kitchen-sink realism shot in Oxford locations makes for a gripping narrative which just about stops short of pandering or polarising.
CAST: Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Max Irons
DIRECTOR: Lone Scherfig
WRITERS: Laura Wade
SYNOPSIS: A chronicle of two first-year Oxford University students and their experiences as part of the infamous Riot Club.