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Tommy Johnson (Danny Dyer) describes himself as an average London bloke in his late 20s who lives for the weekend and the promise of drugs, casual sex, and above all, mob violence at football matches. Things start to go wrong for Tommy in the run-up to a hotly anticipated clash between Tommy's team Chelsea and their traditional rivals, Milwall. As tensions rise among his friends and his grandfather plans to immigrate to Australia, he is haunted by recurring nightmares of a bandaged child.

Review by Jake Wilson:
Can it be that apart from Guy Ritchie's gangster farces, the British film industry hasn't had a hit since late last century? I don't know what else would explain the existence of this dire attempt to do for soccer hooligans what Trainspotting did for junkies. The smarmy nihilism of Nick Love's script might have appeared more fashionable five years ago, if not more charming. His equally retrograde direction suggests a recruiting commercial in its reliance on short-term visual "effects" - freeze-frames, flashes of surveillance footage, or close-up lunging pans in the fight scenes, as if the cameraman longed to participate in the carnage.

Beyond the basic idea that blokes like to fight, the insight into thug psychology is nil; authenticity, likewise. Looking fresh from drama school, Danny Dyer displays all the scary bloodlust of a Nick Hornby hero; I'm sure he and his co-stars are nice guys, but there's no trace of the kind of dangerous star power needed to bring this sordid pantomime to life.

Though Trainspotting was far from a great movie, there was an undeniable kick to its provocative celebration of drug use ("take the best orgasm you've ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you're still nowhere near it"). Football Factory by contrast is too cartoonishly sordid to succeed as either wish-fulfilment fantasy or cautionary tale - much less as social realism, despite some vague attempts to link the rise of mob violence to the decline of Empire. In fact, it's hard to work out what goal the filmmakers have in mind beyond a flippant celebration of violence for its own sake: a recurring motif in recent British cinema, but indulged here rather half-heartedly, so that even psychos aren't likely to have much fun.

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CAST: Danny Dyer, Frank Harper, Neil Maskell, Roland Manookian, Jamie Foreman, Tamer Hassan

PRODUCER: Allan Niblo, James Richardson


SCRIPT: Nick Love (novel by John King)


EDITOR: Stuart Gazzard

MUSIC: Ivor Guest


RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 14, 2004

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: 21st Century Pictures Video

VIDEO RELEASE: March 30, 2005

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