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Customer Review

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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