The Football Factory
March 19, 2003
Student cinema ticket: £7. Popcorn and a chilled beverage: £4.50. Watching ‘The Football Factory’ glorify mindless acts of violence in football hooliganism and influencing me to do the same: priceless. Finally, British cinema has returned to its roots, with this hard, gritty realistic portrayal of a typical Jack-the-lad cockney geezer involved in organised football fights.
Sometimes, it’s just fun to hit people. Football Factory demonstrates how we can do this in large numbers and be more organised so as to evade police custody. Violence is an everyday issue, and has its common place in London, a care-free, live-fast city, with weak morals and values that have no standing in youth culture anymore. The Football Factory lets us explore the minds of football hooligans and lets us experience a real gang fight in a very hard, gritty and realistic way (Take note of the “hard, gritty realistic” repetition WhatDVD, so as to know not to send me another film like Casper; The Friendly Ghost again, much obliged). Now, you might be wondering, how can someone like me, a college student film critic of oriental descent relate to a geezer movie about Chelsea football violence? I can’t. You think you’d find me in a cockney skin head gang like that!? You’re better off looking for me down Chinatown, where us Triads organise our own turf wars with butterfly knives and nunchuks. But, we all know the type, and those of us from London can relate well to the characters (believe it or not) and the setting.
I love “kicking fuck out of someone”, Tommy (Dyer) tells us, while he is literally doing it to someone. Tommy Johnson is one of the hooligans who has a larger brain capacity than the others, thus is the one whose mind we follow. Fighting is in the male-ego and something to which many enjoy and get a buzz from, after all, its just self expression really innit. ‘Innit’ and other colloquial words alike are common to the ear during this film so those of you that despise the working class accent will just have to bugger off out the cinema innit.
Tommy is a laid back lad who lives for the weekend. We follow his reckless life as he downs his weekend in the pub with lager followed by casual sex, and see him closely bonding with his war-veteran grandfather. We also follow him to the pub on match days when he and his best mate Rod (Maskell) prepare themselves for a team battle against another club. This culminates to the ultimate showdown in rivalry disputes pitting Chelsea against their arch rivals, Milwall Football Club. Before this, Tommy was experiencing premonitions of him being brutally beaten by rival hooligans. Will this happen to him today? Well, it is a bit obvious really ‘innit’. Of course it happens!!
This is an enjoyable experience into the mindless subculture of soccer hooliganism. It’s intriguing to see how they live their lives and what they actually live for. Especially ring leader, Billy Bright (Harper) who is a fascinatingly strange geezer, but commands a strong screen presence through out the film. Now, it’s up to you whether or not you can stomach such a hard and gritty realistic film but as for me, I’m off for a pint of pig’s ear down the rub-a-dub-dub (off for a pint of beer at the public drinking house).