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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 March 2011
I read a review of The Football Factory that said the characters are so "orrible" and "hateful" it was impossible to like them at all! You have to think that that particular reviewer knows nothing about the subject matter of the film he was writing about. Does he think that hoards of footie hooligans, who delight in knocking seven bells of tar out of each other, want to be liked?

The Football Factory is directed by Nick Love and based on the book of the same name written by John King. It stars Danny Dyer {who else really?}, Frank Harper, Neil Maskell and Tamer Hassan {Hassan fans should note he's rarely in it tho}. The story is about what was termed The English Disease, a disease where like minded adults from various walks of life, religiously took to fighting like minded adults, in the name of what football team they happened to support. There's been a ream of books written on the subject, from those involved and by those who haven't a clue outside of reading their Sunday Times articles back in the day. There's also been one or two films about the subject, from pretty ace efforts like Phillip Davis' ID, to middling tellings such as Elijah Wood starrer Green Street. It's a subject that people seem hell bent on dissecting and attempting to get to the bottom of.

So with that in mind, Love's movie is something of a triumph in that it tries the hardest to understand its topic. To those on the outside of football hooliganism, it looks like a bunch of blokes mindlessly inflicting harm on each other whilst simultaneously damaging the good name of the national sport. But Love, with help from King's source, explores ego led tribalism, male bonding, male conformity and dissatisfaction of life in general. Throw in the punches and a ream of genuine laughs and you got a film that is easy to like if you belong to a certain demographic. Here is the problem if you are not a geezer, a tribal footie fan or a mindless thug, The Football Factory holds no appeal to the casual observer, which is a shame, because as stated previously, it's trying hard to reason and understand. There's for instance a cracking plot-strand involving two old fella's, Tommy's {Dyer} granddad Bill {Dudley Sutton} & Albert {John Junkin}. Both lifelong pals who have grown tired of what "their" Britain has become, thus they are in the process of emigrating to Australia. This dovetails smartly with the unfolding story of football violence perpetrated by the kids of the day. Generational differences? Perhaps, maybe?

The cast are strong, either fitting the mean profile perfectly {Harper/Hassan} or delivering the needed cocky swagger line {Dyer}, Love has assembled, what is for the material at hand, the perfect cast. OK we probably could have done with Vinnie Jones or Ross Kemp in there somewhere, but it's a low budget movie you know! The fight scenes are grim and look authentic and the soundtrack rocks the large one too. So is it glamorising a touchy subject? Well yes it is, if you are a football hooligan yourself that is. It's not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, but it has good intentions in there, even if not all of them are fully realised. To which it leaves us with an impacting, intriguing and uneasily enjoyable movie. 7.5/10
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on 24 February 2010
Published in 1996, John King's novel Football Factory was a gripping insight into the mind of a 1980s football hooligan. Deranged but believable, it raised issues of class, race, tribal allegiance and the masculine capacity for violence. Any hooligan drama will suffer comparisons to Alan Clarke's gritty The Firm, but director Nick Love's makes Football Factory seem distinctly lightweight and infatuated with its subjects.. There's endless macho posturing, particularly, to the point of tedium.
Narrator Tommy Johnson (Danny Dyer) is part of the infamous real-life Chelsea firm, the Headhunters. With best friend Bob and Zeberdee, he lives for away days to rival firms Millwall. To Tommy a man approaching his thirtys it's all one big adrenaline rush. In a whirl of drugs, shagging and casual violence, there's barely a football kicked, and his lifestyle is contrasted with that of his granddad, railing at the selfishness of the younger generation.

The Football Factory' is a film that has absolutely nothing to do with football. You won't see a blade of grass, a ball, or a set of goals anywhere within its 93 minutes. Neither, for that matter, will you see a waving scarf. ,
`The Football Factory' is about one thing and one thing only: hooligans. Sure, they're hooligans who attach themselves to one English football club or another (in this case Chelsea). But, if they're also football supporters, it's certainly not something writer-director Nick Love has any interest in. A fter all, at no point in the film is football even spoken about. You've got to hand it to Love though he's assembled a convincing band of Guy Ritchie cast-off types, and his scenes of inner-city street warfare are frighteningly realistic. But there's no discernable plotline, no form of redemption for any of our characters, and nobody for the right-thinking viewer to side with. Yup, there's a moral lesson thrown in for our lead protagonist, but it never looks like it's been included as anything more than a minor afterthought in an extremely weak effort to justify the film's existence. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is a film that revels in its subject matter. West Ham's Inter City Firm, Chelsea's Headhunters and Millwall's Bushwacker,: are just a few of the infamous gangs who established reputations as some of the most feared and active mobs in English football. and the film follows the build-up to an FA Cup tie between these fierce rivals.

Raw, violent, compassionate. Narassistic, and often extremely funny, The Football Factory will appeal to all those who played (and still play) the game. This film is the best of the crop, Forget away days, The firm 1998 and 2009 and the ludicrous green street. But with all these films there is a undercurrent of subservient brotherly love. Danny Dyer once again steals the show with his off the peg character, but Danny how many times can you be transplanted try something new.
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on 22 December 2004
Adapted from John King's novel, The Football Factory is an entertaining blend of Snatch, Trainspotting and the episode of Grange Hill where the boys organise a fight with another school.
The story concentrates on three members of the infamous Chelsea Headhunter's 'firm', who use their team's matches as an excuse to brawl with rival pseudo-supporters; narrator and stereotypical twenty-something lad Tommy, mockney hardman Billy and repugnant rat-boy Zebedee (so-called because he likes 'white powder').
Although Tommy enjoys the adrenaline-rush of fighting, he's plagued by visions of a serious beating and starts to question whether the lifestyle is 'worth it'. Along with friend Rod, he's inadvertently upset several Millwall fans, just when the FC Cup has pitched the two teams, and thus their firms, against each other.
All the staples of British film are evident; the insightful voiceover, pumping Britpop soundtrack and defiance of social-conformity (jobs and girlfriends are for losers, etc). Token comedy moments are provided by two drug-addicted pensioners and a hilariously blinkered, Hoxton-like portrayal of Liverpool (apparently just a deserted wasteland, consisting of five scallies and a burned-out car).
The hooligans are portrayed as surprisingly intelligent, misunderstood people, embodying the brave, noble spirit of St. George and disillusioned by a dystopian society that doesn't understand them; which may be somewhat difficult to accept if you've ever spent a train-journey desperately trying to avoid eye-contact with drunken 'casuals'. Otherwise the film is gleeful exploitation and (mercifully) extends two-fingers to any expected moral allegories.
Director Nick Love's stylish cinematography and the young cast's accurate, energetic performances are sufficient to transcend the dated subject-matter. The Football Factory is an undemanding 90-minutes that blows the cobwebs away.
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on 24 December 2008
Great film - all the characters were believable and realistic. It conveyed the loyalty and brotherhood of these "firms" brilliantly and managed many comic moments.

All in all, very true to life - no characters were unbeleivable.

Tip for Ms McDonald - don't buy a film about football hooligans and complain when its violent. I don't like what they do, nobody does, but your apparent dislike of hooliganism is irrelevant when reviewing the quality of the film. It matters not whether you liked it or not - its was the film that you were supposed to be reviewing.
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I like Danny Dyer, he's a versatile actor and I enjoyed this movie.

It's a story of football hooligans so you know it's going to be full of cursing and swearing and violence and it is but, it has a decent storyline.
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on 11 August 2004
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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VINE VOICEon 9 November 2006
There is no point worrying about this being "real" or not being "real". The reality is real hooligans and real so called fights are probably the most uncinematic thing you could hope for. Real football violence is so sporadic, so unstructured so random it would make about a 10 minute film.

This is the best of a bad bunch, if you think that Green Street is better than this then you are living in cloud cookoo land. At least this has a semblence of truth about it, some decent acting, actors who look like they could be handy (apart from the lead) and a vague plot. There is even some funny bits. If you are looking for an insight into football violence then do some searches on YouTube instead.

Its a decent effort of a very suspect genre.
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on 12 March 2015
Based on John King's overrated book (his others are even worse), Football Factory the film has also been wrongly raved about, its reputation enhanced by a series of shoddy rip-offs (Green Street is way more repugnant). The fun begins with a gimmicky, scene-setting montage and a kicking soundtrack. Away we go and it's straight into the cliches and bad boy language as Danny Dyer, playing top Chelsea boy Tommy Johnson (although Danny is West Ham till I die) explains, graphically, why Saturdays are for fighting. He has been badly beaten up, but that is still three weeks away. For now, the boys are up in Tottenham. Later they will be on a bus to Liverpool, where some handy lads with Stanley knives threaten mayhem. The grand finale is WAY DOWN SARF, as Chelsea draw Millwall in the cup. and Tommy gets a right royal kicking from Milllwall thugs, headed by Tamer Hassan, something to do with a cricket bat and a bad night out. This is the start of a beautiful partnership between Hassan and Dyer, stalwarts of numerous geezer-gangster films, some much worse than this.
Frank Harper has a blast as unloveable thug Billy Bright, who lords it over the likes of Roland Manookian's thieving and dealing Zebedee, a character you become heartily sick of five minutes in. Neil Maskell gets the best lines as Tommy's sidekick, Rod, rudely ending lunch with his bird's posh parents to get down to Millwall for the big meet. Acting honours go to Dudley Sutton, old school war hero who dreams of a better life Down Under and pours scorn on the fake combat antics of the local hooligans and the racism of Jamie Foreman's cabbie. A wise flower-seller tells Tommy it's time to grow up and stop fighting. Someone should have advised Danny Dyer not to get pigeon-holed as the nation's bit of rough. This was as good as it got for Dyer and for director Nick Love. Abomination followed. Incidentally, another shameful use of The Jam's Going Underground. That was from 1980, Weller's anger directed at rockets and guns taking the place of kidney machines, nothing to do with hammering Millwall. As Bill Bright would say: "soppy bollocks..."
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on 7 June 2010
If you dislike this sort of thing, you will absolutely hate this. But if you like grimy, violent and honest to real life Brit flicks, you'll love it. I personally have no interest football, but I still liked it. I'm a big fab of Nick Love's work anyway.
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on 21 July 2006
It seems like people either love or hate this film.

Initially I expected better from an adaption of John King's novel 'The Football Factory' but with hindsight I have grown to love this piece of film making.

I find myself replaying scenes over and over, and this is the mark of a special movie.

The music, the characters, the landscape etc etc are fused into one in a way that is real, exciting, dull, humorous, scary.

What makes this true to the art of telling stories is that you are successfully immersed into the life of a person (ie Tommy or Rod) who otherwise you may dislike and have nothing to do with in reality.

I try to understand why so many people despise this movie with a passion? Did they expect more football? Fights on the terraces? By the time this film was set, all the terraces at soccer stadiums in the UK had been torn up and replaced by plastic seats. If there is any organized fistacuffs, then they are more likely to occur outside the ground, in dark and dingy back streets. This is where Football Factory hit the target.

It's not a perfect film but I gave it five stars. It's ugly, unpleasant and a snapshot to a world that is still out there, albeit less so these days. The old adventure and lure of 'running with a gang' is still very alive here though. This concept of young men and gangs will never die, for better or for worse!

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