Adapted from his own memoirs, 'Cass' tells the true story of Carol 'Cass' Pennant, an orphaned Jamaican boy, who grew up in 1950s England, facing racism at every turn.
Supporting West Ham was an activity that was supposed to bring the young boy closer to his elderly adopted father but instead it opened him up to a whole new world of pain. Racism was rife and violence and hooliganism were just part-and-parcel of any trip to a home or away game. For Cass there were only two options, he had to get tough or face being beaten up on. He chose to fight back, later becoming one of the most prominent figures in football hooliganism, by leading the Hammers' Intercity Firm. And so, jail spells, stabbings, shootings and threats became as much a part of his life as breathing, eating and sleeping, much to the disgust of his nearest and dearest.
'Cass' paints a graphic and blunt view of the realities of football hooliganism and thuggery, chronicling the eye-for-an-eye nature of the attacks on various firms of football supporters around the UK. It's language is coarse and its approach direct.
Nonso Anozie has a wonderful presence as the violent thug, with many redeeming qualities. He makes Cass equally believable as the hooligan bent on revenge and the loving son, husband and father, who just wants a normal life. Nathalie Press is also convincing as his long-suffering wife, who sees all aspects of his personality and lives with the constant threat of violence.
Perhaps the movie could have been a little meatier, given the issue in hand, but 'Cass' is a strong telling of the culture of football in the UK, particularly during the 1970s, from one man's perspective. A little less narration and a little more action would have made this a really decent movie. As it stands it is instead a quite watchable film.