No Surrender. Image shows from L to R: Mike (Michael Angelis), Bernard (Bernard Hill). Image credit: No Surrender Films Ltd.

No Surrender

Dark comedy drama by Alan Bleasdale, centred around a run-down nightclub in Liverpool and a particularly shambolic New Year's Eve party

Genre:
Film
Released:
1985
Starring:
Michael Angelis, Avis Bunnage, James Ellis, Tom Georgeson, Bernard Hill, Ray McAnally, Mark Mulholland, Joanne Whalley, J G Devlin, Vince Earl, Ken Jones
Writers:
Alan Bleasdale
Production:
No Surrender Films Ltd

When new manager Mike arrives at Liverpool's run-down Charleston nightclub, he's not quite prepared for the mayhem that awaits.

As if starting his new position on New Year's Eve wasn't bad enough, Mike soon finds that his predecessor is being held captive in a store-room by the gangland boss owner of the club, and slowly being beaten to a pulp, and that the bookings for the evening aren't entirely conduscive to a peaceful night.

There's one coach load of staunch Protestant OAPs, another full of Catholics (all dressed up in hope of a non-existant fancy dress prize), and a minibus of dementia sufferers whose plight is only likely to distress everyone else - and that's just the audience.

Naturally, the only way to round off such an evening is with a mass punch-up in the gents' toilets being interrupted by a police raid just before midnight...

Our Review: Not quite laugh-out-loud funny (although it certainly has its moments), No Surrender is a relentlessly gritty portrayal of social and sectarian divide in mid-1980s Liverpool.

It does show some rays of hope for a certain section of British life, primarily through the resolve and nerve of central character Mike, but otherwise the film is overwhelmingly bleak. Nevertheless, it's a fascinating slice of 1980s society.

Despite its humour, we certainly wouldn't recommend No Surrender to anyone suffering from depression - suffice to say, it's more than a little "grim up north".