DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Andrew Robertson's film review of Cass

Optimum continue to show they are among the best when it comes to putting together great DVD packages, with this very comprehensive and enjoyable release.

Picture, sound and subtitles are all fine - and the extras genuinely complement the feature. Director Jon Baird, producer Stefan Haller and star Nonso Anozie (Cass) provide an amiable and informative commentary track which manages to tread the difficult line beteween anecdote, technical detail and love-in rather well. We're told how many of the extras were people who knew Cass back in his hooligan days and how they turned up to the shoot "half-pissed" and are "hitting each other with no pads or anything".

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Elsewhere, Baird points out his bulldog (Jock) - "the most important part of the film" and reveals he is "obssessed wtih symmetry" and "Stanley Kubrick shots". Anozie - whose real-life accent is shockingly posh compared to that of Cass - has a gentle sense of humour which plays well against the other two and talks about the difficulties/pressures/benefits of playing a real-life person, particularly when they are frequently on thet set, as Cass Pennant was. There is a bit of general back-slapping from time to time but, considering the whole film was shot for less than £1 million, you can't help but feel they deserve some congratulations.

There's also a chance to see Baird's earlier short, reviewed elsewhere on this site, It's A Casual Life.

The Behind The Scenes featurettes, split in to The Cast (10 mins), The Tear Ups (four mins), The Prison (four mins) and The Firm (10 mins) dissect several scenes and contain plenty of 'making of' footage and further interesting anecdotes about the shoot. This also features Cass Pennant, who, speaking of Anozie, says, "He ain't me. But he can f***ing play me better than I can f***ing play me."

It is Cass Pennant In His Own Words, which provides the real emotional heart of the extras. This sequence of films, shot as the script was being developed, give the man the chance to tell several parts of the story himself, including the night he was shot and stories of horror from his childhood. Seeing the man behind the film not only serves to show how accurate Baird has been in the writing of the script, but also how spot-on Anozie's central performance is.

Rounding out the package are TV spots and a trailer.

Reviewed on: 04 Jan 2009
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The true story of an abandoned baby who grew up to be a notorious football hooligan.
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Product Code: OPTD1283

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.78:1

Sound: Dolby

Extras: Behind The Scenes, Cass Pennant In His Own Words, commentary with Jon Baird, Stefan Haller and Nonso Anozie, TV spots, trailer

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