6.9/10
26,306
113 user 43 critic

The Football Factory (2004)

An insight on the gritty life of a bored male, Chelsea football hooligan who lives for violence, sex, drugs & alcohol.

Director:

Nick Love

Writers:

John King (novel), Nick Love
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Dyer ... Tommy Johnson
Frank Harper ... Billy Bright
Tamer Hassan ... Fred
Roland Manookian ... Zeberdee
Neil Maskell ... Rod
Dudley Sutton ... Bill Farrell
Jamie Foreman ... Cabbie
Tony Denham Tony Denham ... Harris (as Anthony Denham)
Calum MacNab ... Raff
John Junkin ... Albert Moss
Sophie Linfield ... Tamara
Kara Tointon ... Tameka
Michele Hallak Michele Hallak ... Shian
Daniel Naylor Daniel Naylor ... Terry
Alison Egan Alison Egan ... Barbara
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Storyline

The Football Factory is more than just a study of the English obsession with football violence; it's 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 their 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 frighteningly real yet full of painful humour as the four characters' extreme thoughts and actions unfold before us. Written by Wahida Begum

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Even in Britain, Crime is Crime See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong language, brutal violence, drug use and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 May 2004 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Football Factory See more »

Filming Locations:

Bermondsey, London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£207,683 (United Kingdom), 16 May 2004, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the encounter between Billy Bright and Millwall Fred at the junior game, Frank Harper ad-libbed most of his lines, including the "Kebab shop" racial slur. The anger shown by Tamer Hassan is genuine and Nick Love kept it in the film. See more »

Goofs

During the fight against Millwall, we see Raff on the floor with blood and bruises on his face. However, when the police arrive, we see Raff taunting them with no signs of being hurt at all. See more »

Quotes

Tommy Johnson: My granddad, old Bill Farrell, drove us to drink with his stories about the war and how he fought to put the "Great" into Britain. He said fighting at football was nothing compared to fighting with the Germans... Although, he was right. We're an island race. It's what we do best. It's not about color or race, it's just the buzz of being in the frontline. Truth is, I just love to fight.
See more »

Connections

References Blind Date (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Wake Up
Written by K. Hurkle
Performed by Kennedy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Underinspiring but still interesting.
16 October 2004 | by jpt27See all my reviews

MY VERDICT: **/*****

The logic resulting in the production of this film is not hard to follow. The scathing social satire and searingly counter-cultural Trainspotting was a brilliant British film. The flash-talking, fast-plotted, gun-wielding, hard-brawling Lock Stock was a good British film. So why not combine aspects of both? Predictably, the result is a mess, but flashes of good film-making keep the viewer interested for the 1 hour and 20 minutes or so of football 'n' fights.

The opening sequence closely follows the Trainspotting format. A narrator, later we discover called Tommy, delivers his criticism on how we live our lives and how he has found excitement and meaning by flying right off the rails. The soundtrack moves from one Brit hit to the next as we are introduced to his gang in some snappy montages. Again, the Trainspotting skool of film-making isn't so much an influence as a screenplay, storyboard and script.

Soon, we get to know the gang, and learn that the love of their lives is violence, especially (but not exclusively) surrounding their football team, Chelsea, and particularly focused against their arch-rivals Millwall. I was preparing myself for some gruesome violence as geezers started drinking pints and looking for a fight. And then, the film ... just ... chickens out. A film which is supposedly about football violence should, um, contain some football violence maybe, but Football Factory becomes a film version of one of its thugs - all bluster and intimidation, and no bite. Supposedly hard-hitting action sequences have soap opera-like qualities. Never do we seem to see a fist connect in anger, or teeth shatter, or bones crack. Just some bad pantomime blood and incompetent camera-work. This inadequacy seriously undermines the film's impact - it fails to pump up the audience to the next big fight, and thus has no discernible pace. Just scenes, shots and cuts.

Instead, the focus of the film falls (rather disastrously) on the uninteresting, homogenous characters. With a sigh, I realized this wasn't going to get any better, and began to take mental notes of names, story lines etc so I could at least follow the plot. Tommy and Rod are the central duo, the thugs with brains, imagination, and perhaps the insight that will lift them out of this life. Bill is meant to be the ultra-nasty psycho - Robert Carlyle in Trainspotting was clearly what they were trying to emulate - but some unconvincing acting gives him all the terror of a particularly in-your-face door to door salesman. Zebedee is there for exposition on the cocaine-fuelled lifestyle that all youths supposedly lead (is this true? I was a teenager for years, and I never remember being offered cocaine.) There's also an organised violence ringleader, although I don't have to worry about his name because he brings absolutely nothing to the plot at all.

In brief, the plot follows the gang on the buildup to a particularly bruising clash - Millwall versus Chelsea, and particularly how Tommy begins to get cold feet about his thuggery and starts considering his options. This isn't helped by some heavy-handedly (almost bludgeoningly) symbolic dream sequences. I quite liked the film-making device of giving no warning or visual clues to as what was a dream and what wasn't. It's not put to an ultimate good use though, much like the rest of the handful or so of original ideas in the film. I like the dope-smoking old men though.

So is this worth viewing or not? Certainly, it's got more to chew on than another awful CGI-overkill-marathon like Van Helsing or Catwoman. But don't expect it to truly open your eyes to another world, or indeed, still be with you a month later.


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