on 28 May 2006
You know a film has something special when people either love it or hate it, and this film definitely has something special. Many dissenters appear to have expected a movie about football hooliganism per se, but the hooliganism takes a back seat to the character study that is this movie.
This is a movie about a policeman trying to do his job the best way he knows how, putting himself in the line of danger. He is doing dirty work in the name of good, and it sure is dirty! The deeper he gets in this new role as football hooligan, the more his real life fades into the distance.
As the film progresses, we are confronted with the question of where the good lies. When does an undercover hooligan become just a hooligan? As his "real life" disintegrates, is it he who has disintegrated?
Don't expect this to be a documentary on football hooliganism or "a day in the life of a football hooligan". Here you will find a character study that blurs good and bad in vivid colours and leaves us feeling unsettled. It is brilliant.
on 12 May 2012
Distributor : Anchor Bay Entertainment (UK)
When you go undercover remember one thing, who you are...
Ask any movie collector to name a film based around the world of football hooliganism and you would probably be given genre titles such as Football Factory, Green Street or perhaps even The Firm. The one film which is unlikely to immediately come to mind however is Philip Davis' I.D.
Criminally under-rated, the film tells the story of an undercover detective who is sent into the world of organised football violence in an attempt to infiltrate the gangs and bring down the generals who appear to be controlling much of the local organized crime. It would however appear that the world of drinking, fighting and ultimately belonging all comes with a certain appeal especially when your regular life begins to disintegrate around you and the movie charts the officers downward spiral into becoming one of the major players he was sent in to unearth.
Starring Reece Dinsdale as John, his opening line "My names John, I can be very nice or I can be very nasty, either way I'm having a statement out of you" is said in an almost throw away fashion. John however appears to have an intensity about him and as the film progresses, it is this intensity which will result in the complete destruction of his character and the emergence of something altogether different. With supporting roles from a host of British actors including Warren Clark, Sean Pertwee and Perry Fenwick, the drama unfolds at a steady pace providing a gritty and altogether tense character study of one mans decent into extreme violent behaviour.
Presented in 1080p 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer, the newly remastered print marks a vast improvement over all previous releases. Colours and black levels are reasonably strong with an average amount of detail on display. Thankfully all previous issues of print damage would appear to be long gone making an altogether decent but not remarkable transfer. It is also worth noting that Anchor Bay Entertainments Blu-ray marks the first media release of the film to preserve the original aspect ratio which again shows a major improvement over the earlier cropped DVDs. If you are used to seeing the film in a scratchy 4x3 print, you are in for a real treat as the movie has simply never looked better.
Audio is presented with a choice of 2.0 stereo track or a 5.1 DTS HD master which comes across as clean, crisp and well defined. Once again the soundtrack simply blows away the previous DVD audio track, instantly enhancing the quality of the presentation and giving a real sense of depth to the dialogue like never before.
Extras? No! Nothing at all, not even a trailer. A real shame considering the previous budget releases the film has received and you would think that obtaining some contributions from cast members surely wouldn't have been too difficult to arrange. Considering that almost nothing has been said on the making of this classic, there is a real missed opportunity here.
All things considered I.D. has been on our most wanted lists for some time and as the film seems often overlooked or perhaps even forgotten, this certainly makes for an unexpected if most welcome Blu-ray release. The improvements in sound and picture quality alone easily justifies a purchase for fans of the film, it's just a shame that something couldn't have been done to provide some extra features.
With solid performances throughout, this one really could be considered the ultimate hooligan film. Sure it doesn't have some of the more outlandish moments of the other titles which followed, however if you enjoy superbly written, acted and directed dramas then look no further.
Blu Review Obscura - for reviews of the less mainstream Blu-ray releases find us at blureviewobscura.yolasite.com and at our discussion group on Facebook
on 6 July 2006
This is an entertaining tale of an ambitious copper who goes undercover among football hooligans to find out who's orchestrating the violence. As time goes on he becomes attached to the thugs, addicted to the violence, and removed from his police past.
The film thrives on tension - the fear of discovery, the threat of imminent violence and the loss of control expoerienced by the central character as he goes through the transformation. The gang fights are a big part of the make-up of the film and as such aren't to everyone's taste. But there is a heavy psychological aspect to this film and that's not to be forgotten.
The acting is convincing, as are the scripts and storylines. I'm told that some of the fight scenes aren't realistic to the football world, but they do fit the story. What is convicing is the way the central character works: I used to do undercover investigations (non-police), and I felt that many aspects of the effect of the job were reproduced convincingly, and I appreciated that. Perhaps this connection of mine endears me more than average towards this film.
Don't expect something high-brow, but although this film does rely to a large extent on the fight scenes, there is more and the story is worth bothering with and reproduced in an accessible and convincing way.
i.d. is directed by Philip Davis and written by Vincent O'Connell. It stars Reece Dinsdale, Warren Clarke, Claire Skinner, Richard Graham, Perry Fewick, Philip Glenister, Saskia Reeves and Sean Pertwee. Music is by Will Gregory and cinematography by Thomas Mauch.
Four policemen go undercover and infiltrate a gang of football hooligans who follow Shadwell Town. There mission is to root out their leaders, the ones pulling all the strings. But for one of them, John (Dinsdale), the longer the operation goes on, the more he finds he loves this world of hard drinking and fighting.
It became something of a cult hit back in the 90s, at a time when football hooligan films were still rare. Nowadays they are two a penny, with a ream of wide boy directors mining the source for easy cash while turning the topic into pop culture matter of fact. i.d. (it is spelt that way on the film) is a different animal to the MTV styled other hoolie movies in a lot of ways, it is set in the 80s but it feels archaic, in fact it feels much earlier with its clothing choices, fans decked out in scarves, admission fees into grounds only £3.50/£4.00 and the way supporters are caged on the terraces. Even the terrace songs hark back to the 70s. This old time feel, coupled with the low production value, is a world away from the likes of The Football Factory and Green Street, where dress codes were as important as toughness! i.d. does have realism, but it's a realism long before football hooliganism became a source of books, films and trendy badge of honours.
Davis' film is more concerned with showing how the thrill of it all can drag down the most upstanding citizen. In this case Dinsdale's (terrific and a splendid shift from sit-com niceties) young ambitious copper. His descent into being a full blown hooligan is very real, the addiction of the fight, the camaraderie of the gang, the wine women and song that replaces the humdrum of everyday working life. It doesn't offer up any answers, in fact things are deliberately left ambiguous in the end, but the message is sharply etched into the story and the pic is high on social value. It should have been bolder by making more on racism of the time and expanding upon police overkill at football matches, but it never glorifies the topic to hand and backed by a very watchable cast, rounds out as football hooligan film of some substance and standing in the genre pantheon. 8/10
on 19 May 2009
After seeing Green Street a few years back, I was weary of seeing I.D. Starting with four young coppers who are undercover to target the hooligans of a football club that was causing trouble, the lead of the group John is slowly succumbing to the bad parts of it all. He used to be a good cop, friends with Trevor, Eddie and Charlie, got a lovely girlfriend and just a fun person to be around. Now he turns into a hooligan, flirts with the bar lady, causes fights, loses his friendship and becomes a total different person all together. This is a really entertaining film, funny in places and you warm to the characters that are shown to you. I couldn't believe how many faces I knew in this movie that is old as me (must be 20 years old) with each giving excellent pefomances from Reece Dinsdale, Perry Fenwick, Philip Glenister, Sean Pertree and many more from where it came from. Highly recommened you buy this if you like football movies with a good enough story and known stars.
on 5 March 2013
Great film really gritty and realistic let down by a shockingly grainy hazy blu ray transfer that being said if like me you're a huge fan of this film and its characters and what is a great story it is you simply won't care
on 22 November 2014
I bought this on VHS and really need to update my copy. I remembered seeing it on TV once and had to watch it again. It is especially relevant in light of recent cases concerning how far an undercover cop can or should go, to stay undetected by his targets (I think that case involved a green protest group).
I wouldn't willingly go within 5 miles of the sort of people and places depicted in this film, so I've no idea how realistic the fights may or may not be. But they scared the hell out of me! And I loved the bit in the pub when Reece Dinsdale's character got away with not knowing the answer to a quiz question (which as a Shadwell supporter he would have to know) by pretending that he couldn't read - thus getting everyone's sympathy !
A fine performance from good old Warren Clarke, sadly RIP recently, as the pub landlord.
on 17 July 2011
This has got to be THE best football movie ever. It is a deep and utterly convincing character study of an undercover cop who gets drawn into the murky world of hooliganism. Although the set-up may sound familiar, remember that I.D.(made in the mid nineties) is one of the originals of the genre. The director goes to great pains to build up tension and portray the pitfalls of organized violence. I found I.D. much more satisfying than The Firm, because this movie has a much more stellar cast and the motivations of the lead character is much more convincing. True, these type of movies are not for everyone, but if football movies are up your street, I.D. is an excellent place to start.
on 21 July 2006
John is an ambitious young copper who (together with his Sergeant - Trevor) are sent to investigate and 'infiltrate' the world of football violence and hooligans to try and find the 'top boys' of the soccer hooligan scene.
They are sent in among the supporters of the fictitious 'Shadwell Town' football Club and begin to frequent their local 'The Rock'.
What starts as a rather scary and unwelcome assignment gradually builds up to friendships being made between John and the 'hooligans' and comradeship developing between him and them. As a bonus, he discovers he desperately fancies Linda, the neice of the pub landlord Bob and - at first - the feeling is mutual!
John starts to discover that he prefers to be with them and do what they do rather than be with his own long-suffering policewoman wife and his job.
He changes into one of the hooligans he was sent to 'bring to book'.
With the assingment almost over; and his wife not knowing him anymore; he feels nostalgia for all he and the Shadwell Town boys shared and he sinks into a kind of depression whereby he loses his wife and his job and ends up joining a 'far right' neo-Nazi outfit to compensate for the comarardarie he feels he's lost among his former mates in the football hooligan world.
The film ends with him 'sieg-heiling' in the street, on a march with his new group.
I like this film very much and have watched it many times. The dialogue is typical for the type of setting it is in and it's fast paced and action packed; but with a certain 'wistfulness' displayed by the characters. It also goes to show that a person can become deeply influenced by the company they keep; and what they think they would never get involved in may just be lying dormant awaiting an event or opportunity to bring it out.
Would be 'infiltrators' beware!!!
on 29 December 2005
This film is terrific. It has something for everyone ranging from violence to drama.All in all a great film and well worth watching.