Customer Review

29 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British film of the year, 11 Aug 2004
This review is from: Football Factory (Special Edition) [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
Nick Love is a director whose two films (the other being 2001's 'Goodbye Charlie Bright') really deserve to have done better than they actually did at the box office, for Love's style of filmmaking is energetic and lively, a refreshing change from the heavy-handed and overly 'worthy' style of most contemporary British films. That he manages to do this while telling stories about working-class white males in the poorer quarters of London makes his films all the more enjoyable. Sadly, the effort and panache with which this young auteur pulls off his films is not matched by the distribution of said films and, although his second effort achieved moderate success in London, his work goes unnoticed by most of the general cinemagoing population. Which is a crying shame, for 'The Football Factory' is probably the most relevant British film to be released in 2004...
It is a deft, if loose, adaptation of John King's blistering debut novel, with characters amalgamated and - in some cases - invented for the purposes of the story which Love has pulled away from King's episodic, elliptical inner-narrative and grounded with a tight time-frame and tit-for-tat war between Chelsea and Millwall thugs. In addition, protagonist and narrator Tommy Johnson has been tweaked and tailored according to the quirks and mannerisms of lead actor Danny Dyer, who is absolutely sensational and deserves to go onto great things in his career (hopefully with Nick Love guiding the way). To label the character a 'Mark Renton' for the 21st century is a little short-sighted, for Love's script walks a tender line with the morally ambiguous redemption of the character, which leaves the audience to ponder the character's future (although those of us who read King's third book, England Away, don't do much guessing there!!!), and does no credit to the way Dyer admirably rises to the occasion, eschewing his troublesome Moff (from Human Traffic) persona that had previously typecast him in earlier films.
Love's adaptation of the novel is assured. He takes many liberties with the source material, but is not afraid to make the almost unfilmable prose palatable for a mainstream audience. Structurally, it doesn't achieve the heights of his 'Goodbye Charlie Bright' script, which very cleverly shifted pace according to the emotions of the characters, while at the same time being an 82 minute critique of all that was wrong with Britfilm, but The Football Factory moves along at a great pace, with interesting and intriguing characters who hold your attention throughout. The riot scenes are also brilliantly staged and totally believable.
Fast, funny, violent and with an honesty and authenticity lacking from the pathetic 'I.D.', or the overly-judgemental Alan Clarke BBC drama 'The Firm', The Football Factory comes highly recommended.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 May 2008 15:10:58 BDT
S. J. Thomas says:
Re: your comment on "The Firm".
I just wondered how any film about horrific violence, the awful people who carry it out and it's destructive nature could ever be seen as "overly judgemental"
I think maybe you meant to use the word "rightfully" instead but had a minor brainstorm.

I thought "The Passion of the Christ" was "overly religious" myself. ;P
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