RATING |

AT ONE point in "The Riot Club," a character stands atop a table and profanely proclaims how tired he is of poor people.

It's a defining moment in Lone Scherfig's searing satire of the British upper class, a film at its best in moments of viscerally shocking depravity, but mired in talk.

The titular club comprises Oxford's 10 best, brightest and richest students. When an outsider inquires about membership, he is told, "If you've got to ask, you're really not the right sort of chap."

The club sets out to recruit two newbies, Miles (Max Irons) and Alistair (Sam Claflin, showing even more inner ferocity than his "Hunger Games" character). They join with the promise of a depraved good time while at the university, and assured places at Britain's "very important desks" after graduation.

Sounds like a win-win, no?

Unchecked, Alastair's lack of empathy for anyone without his background and bank account goes wild, while Miles learns about a darker side to the landed gentry than he had previously experienced, despite his upper-class childhood.

"The Riot Club" is adapted from Laura Wade's play "Posh," and the movie - largely confined to one room - feels as if a play were being filmed.

Eventually, the action of the film bursts open as the boys debauchedly destroy everything around them. The scene is shocking, but in their own mind, these men - really, these boys - are entitled to their party. It's nothing a couple of hundred pounds can't fix, right?