The Firm, acclaimed British television director Alan Clarke's last feature film, deals with the football hooliganism that was such a serious problem in England during the 1980s. Gary Oldman stars as Bex, a real estate agent whose true passion is being the "top boy" of the Inter-City Crew, or ICC, from West Ham (based on the real-life Inter-City Firm). As the film opens, Bex is engaged in a football match while his car is being vandalized by rivals from Birmingham, led by Yeti (Mike Leigh regular Philip Davis, who also co-starred in Clarke's Scum). His mates urge Bex to seek violent revenge immediately, but he has other plans. Bex calls a meeting with the two other major "firms" in England and proposes that they band together for a trip to Germany to face off against Dutch hooligans at the European Cup. But his rivals balk because Bex insists on leading the new national firm. It's decided that whichever firm comes out on top in a round robin series of battles will lead them all to Germany. But Yeti continues to target Bex and his crew, and as the violence escalates, there's growing dissension in the ranks. Further complicating matters, Bex's wife, Sue (Lesley Manville, Oldman's one-time wife and another Leigh regular), takes a dim view of his violent "hobby," and their relationship takes another hit when their toddler son gets hold of Bex's beloved Stanley knife. The Firm's airing on the BBC created some controversy. Clarke went on to direct the influential experimental film Elephant before he died of cancer in 1990.
by Josh Ralske synopsis