The Football Factory is more than just a study of the English obsession with football violence, its about men looking for armies to join, wars to fight and places to belong. A forgotten ... See full summary »
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Jesse V. Johnson
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The Football Factory is more than just a study of the English obsession with football violence, its about men looking for armies to join, wars to fight and places to belong. A forgotten culture of Anglo Saxon males fed up with being told they're not good enough and using thier fists as a drug they describe as being more potent than sex and drugs put together. Shot in documentery style with the energy and vibrancy of handheld, The Football Factory is frightingly real yet full of painful humour as the four characters extreme thoughts and actions unfold before us. Written by
When Tommy and Billy leave the massage place and Billy gives Tommy the Viagra, Tommy is carrying his jacket. But in the next shot, when he is walking through town, he does not have it. See more »
There's nothing different about me. I'm just another bored male, approaching 30, in a dead-end job, who lives for the weekend. Casual sex, watered-down lager, heavily cut drugs. And occasionally kicking fuck out of someone.
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Convincingly real but mostly misses the interesting 'tribal' aspect that it could have explored but claims of 'glamorisation' are really missing the point
Tommy Johnson is just a normal bloke, working during the week for f*ck-all money, drinking his nights away looking to get laid and living for the weekend. At the weekend he comes alive with his involvement with his Chelsea firm. Kicking off against whoever, Tommy enjoys the sense of belonging and having that rush that the violence brings but his life is headed for a change. Waking up in a girl's bed brings him into contact with her Millwall brother only a cricket bat to the head gets him away safe. However when Chelsea draws Millwall away in the FA Cup it sets the stage for a great clash, but with guys after him and his dreams increasingly scary and unhinged, Tommy suspects the worst.
When this film came out it was naturally met with the media coverage that comes with any film about this very English phenomenon and I decided to just avoid the hype and the hand-wringing and catch up with the film when I could approach it with a clear air. With its silent and unfussy release on DVD I decided I might as well give it a try. The film kicks off with Tommy's firm in a typically violent clash in which we learn of the appeal of the rush and the buzz as well as getting a feel for the characters. At this point I was happy enough because I was grateful that the film acknowledged the appeal of the hooliganism and to try and just pretend it has none would have been stupid. However no right minded person, even one that sees the appeal, could claim that it justifies it and I then looked for it to be more than just this. Although the film sort of starts to wander into the idea of the need for a tribe or a sense of belonging it generally just concentrates on the narrative rather than opening up the ideas.
This is a problem because then all we have is a film that is some sort of drama around the world of football violence rather than a film that explores the lives involved. This is a shame because it could have been interesting but instead it just ends up wallowing in violence with only a vague subtext going on. This is not to say it glamorises it, only that it presents it as it is but fails to really critically analyse it. In this way it will still be as confusing and repulsive to the majority as it is when it is on the news, but to those involved in the real firms this will be seen as a great fun film and that is a real shame.
The cast are mostly just concerned with delivering swearing 'geezer' clichés and the film gives them no real opportunity to have greater depth than that.
Dyer is a good lead who does occasionally bring out a bit of stuff with expressions and body language but mostly he fits the mould. Harper is just tough but his one scene of self-doubt shows he had more in him if he had been allowed to go further. The rest of the support cast just simply fall into cliché and lazy geezer accents with burberry for all!
Overall this film was a disappointment in the way that it missed the deeper issues on the whole and just ended up being an depiction of violence without a great deal of depth to it. Worth seeing for a realistic depiction of football hooliganism but it doesn't do anything else beyond that. It may not glamorise or promote the life but it doesn't have the depth to criticise or analyse it in the way it really should have done.
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