3 December 2004 | ieuan_johns
Realistic view of a scary world.
The hooligan culture is and never was a class thing, people from all walks of life participated, from local council flat drug users to people with well paid office and professional jobs to ex-army types on a very nice pension. This film shows that in true fashion.
Whilst I never took part in any of that crap I have met, seen and known many who have in my time, most are fairly normal people away from all that, in fact I knew one guy for over a year before I found out that after standing on the terraces with the rest of us on a Saturday afternoon he used to go and get pissed, filled up with E's and go on a rampage with his other mates in other nearby towns looking for Cardiff City supporters.
This film is a fairly accurate reflection on the type and mix of people who became hooligans in the first place, especially poignant is the guy who got away from it all, made something half decent of himself and puts it down to simply growing up. Most of the people I have seen in the past are like that, the ones who aren't tend to be those who were put away before they got to that maturing stage, and I'm not talking about end of puberty maturing I'm talking about the day you wake up and think to yourself is this really going to be the rest of my life kind of maturing.
Full marks to all involved for not taking the easy way out and producing a sack full of morally correct/incorrect bullcrap and instead giving a realistic insight into a very scary world.
Yes the film does not really flow or have a connected plot line, but then it isn't meant to, it is meant to be a film about real life, real life does not have a set up stage, middle bit and happy conclusion. In fact this film could probably loop around for another few years of Tommy's life before he either ends up in jail or shakes himself out into the happy ending scenario that I'm sure many were expecting all along.
The film is at times brutal, unsubtle and the language is extremely tasteless, however these are all thing you would have seen in that reality and it is to the credit of the makers and actors that this did not bog the film down at all. Every scene had a purpose no matter how obscure it may have seen at the first watching.
At every scene from about 10 minutes in I felt emotionally involved in a way that not many films manage to do to me, I actually had empathy for these people if not sympathy, I could se how they could get pleasure from the things that they do even if they turn my own stomach to think of anyone I really care about being involved in them.
Even today in what is a golden age of film making (and don't let any stuck up critic tell you it is not) very few films really make you feel connected to the characters in this way, films like Trainspotting, Twin Town, Human Traffic and now Football Factory are a very unusual thing and seem to be specific to the British film industry right at the moment. Maybe it's just I am personally more able to relate to them having grown up around such cultures, I don't know, I just know that I am glad I bought this film and would recommend anyone watch it if only for a better understanding of the culture at that time, something I am proud to say we have made huge strides to eradicate in this country.