DVD: The Firm by Alan Clarke

The BFI are to release a Blu-ray edition of British director Alan Clarke’s The Firm (1989). The release follows a season of Clarke’s films at the BFI Southbank and accompanies the release of two DVD box sets and a complete Blu-ray box set.

The Firm follows the football hooligan Bex Rissell, played by Gary Oldman, and his West Ham United firm during the 1970s and 1980s. The BFI’s Special Collector’s Edition contains both the original broadcast version and a Director’s Cut.

Extras include a newly recorded audio commentary with Oldman, the High Definition premiere of Alan Clarke’s short film Elephant and a documentary about the making of both The Firm and Elephant.

Born in Cheshire in 1935, Alan Clarke is best remembered for for three groundbreaking dramas: Scum (1979), which is set in a borstal; Made in Britain, about a 16-year-old racist skinhead; and The Firm. But the breadth of his work – with actors such as Ray Winstone, Tim Roth, David Bowie and Oldman – should see him placed as one of Britain’s great directors. He has influenced directors including Gus Van Sant, Harmony Korine and Shane Meadows, and worked on genres ranging from comedy to minimalism to play adaptations.

In an interview in 2000, Gary Oldman said of Clarke: “He radiated with energy. The energy coming off him. The enthusiasm. And one got the impression that he liked actors. Actors want to be liked, that’s the game we’re in… You felt very confident around Alan. He made you feel confident. That anything was possible and that you could… you could go the whole nine yards with him. You could try anything with Alan.”

While a standalone version of The Firm is out now, it is also included in Alan Clarke at the BBC, Volume 2: Disruption (1978-1989), which is out on 20 June, and Dissent & Disruption: The Complete Alan Clarke at the BBC 13-Disc Blu-ray box set, which is out now. Alan Clarke at the BBC, Volume 1: Dissent (1969-1977) is also out now.