The Rack Pack is a biopic which tells the stories of competing snooker stars Steven Davis and Alex Higgins in the 1980’s. It is a film that whilst flawed in many ways tells an interesting story.


The film begins by showing us Higgins (Luke Treadway) on the top of his game, as a flamboyant snooker player who takes risky shots. He drinks, rebels and goes against every rule set for him… he is very much his own man, with a great talent. We are then introduced to his opposite; a young Steve Davis (Will Merrick) who spends hours practicing ‘simple’ shots and drinks only milk. When manager Barry Hearn (Kevin Bishop) takes Davis under his wing the two start to achieve success and money, something which makes Higgins increasingly jealous.

The Rack Pack

The film is from then on about the rivalry and the two of them both trying to achieve success… the problem is that the film doesn’t focus on the rivalry in the way it should. Instead of showing us tense moments of snooker, we instead witness their contrasting personal lives which whilst interesting have almost no tension as the other half is rarely involved. Throughout the entire movie the two rivals have perhaps ten scenes together and whilst all of these are great to watch they are completely underdeveloped.

The film also suffers from having a ridiculously clichéd soundtrack. In the middle of the film there is a fifteen minute section where we get to listen to The Who, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John and UB40. I have no idea why these songs are all used and why in such a quick succession but this portion of the film is so totally distracting from everything else it is a somewhat bizarre experience. I understand that filmmakers like to use popular songs to showcase the time and that’s fine… but when a film opens with Led Zepellin you kind of expect it to stop there. But no, this film instead gives us Ian Drury and The Blockheads and then the ridiculous combination above. It literally feels as if someone has replaced all the music with an 80’s rock mix as none of the songs seem to have any meaning…


For all its musical distractions and lack of snooker the film is still fun to watch with the performances and growth of characters making great viewing… particularly the decline of Higgins.

The Rack Pack is a film which feels stuffed of unfulfilled potential which is a real shame, perhaps with a better soundtrack and more focus on the sport it would be outstanding, but sadly it is only mediocre.