Review by: Louisa Biswas | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentay from Nick Love
and Danny Dyer; Nick Love's short film 'Love Story'; Making of;
Alternate opening scene; Deleted scenes; Theatrical trailer; TV
WITH Euro 2004 and the FA Cup Final just around the corner, some
people might have reservations about the first release of four
films dramatising football violence, but The Football Factory
is more of a documentary into what motivates these men to turn
to violence, rather than glamorising hooliganism.
The film is a hard-hitting account of a group of Chelsea supporters
who arrange a meet before each game to vent their
frustration and fulfil their desire to be part of the countrys
number one firm.
Based on the critically acclaimed book, by John King, the film
has been adapted to show different types of supporters and the
drive behind their violent actions.
The story is told through the eyes of Tommy Johnson (Danny Dyer),
a typical 20-something-year-old, who has a steady job and is enjoying
which includes using violence as a form of drug.
However, after an encounter with the Millwall firm, a series
of nightmares force Tommy to question his dodgy lifestyle and
whether fighting is really worth it.
The character is also the link to three others, who are from
different generations, and have contrasting views over the reasons
behind their actions.
From looking for love to trying to be respected, the working-class
men use their drink and drug-fuelled adrenaline rush to fight
others and gain a form of power.
Nick Love, who adapted and directed the novel, uses his own football
knowledge to illustrate why men turn to violence, and this includes
creating the character of Zeberdee, a teenager who
is addicted to drugs, but aspires to be respected by the Chelsea
firm. However, his misguiding knowledge spirals towards a life
of crime, which ultimately leads to his downfall.
The fast-cutting brutal footage, mixed with the slow-paced emotional
scenes, makes the controversial film a fascinating account of
However, although the audience become fond of the characters,
the different stories about their experiences and lives, help
viewers to partially understand the frighteningly real reason
behind their actions.
The story is based more on loyalty, male culture and bitterness
towards how their country has failed them, rather than encouraging
people to copy their actions, or see them as a hero.
With a former hooligan refusing to return to fighting, and a
few characters frowning upon their conduct, the violent behaviour
of the football hooligans is never condoned or glamorised.
Instead, a mix of satire, sad and startling scenes helps to make
this film more complex than people may have originally imagined,
with several moving scenes showing the men as they question the
consequences of their actions.
While there is never going to be a perfect release date for the
film, The Football Factory reveals that acts of hooliganism are
pre-planned, weeks in advance, by the existing hierarchy of firms,
and that, unfortunately, this darker side of the game has been
a part of the football culture since the 70s.
The powerful film shows that the beautiful game rears a truly
ugly side, which is bound to shock and stun audiences, and will
undoubtedly bring English hooliganism back to the headlines -
but for the wrong reasons.