When we are talking about movies that feature football hooligans, we are actually talking about two distinct periods: before and after the release of The Football Factory. I.D. is one of the first movies in the genre, featuring a very well written script and starring Reece Dinsdale as an undercover police detective. If you’re looking for those raw British films like Trainspotting or Made in Britain, you’ve come to the right place. Set in the eighties, it’s loosely based on real events. However, the violence and hooligan groups were also on the loose during that time.
The eighties were one of the bloodiest periods in England’s history when it comes to hooligans and their violence. I’ll just mention one game played in 1985, between Liverpool and Juventus where 39 people lost their lives. This was actually triggered by England’s failing economy and many more underlying issues that all converged around the football pitch. I’ll leave the link below if you want to know more about this. So, let us get back to this excellent movie.
It’s the eighties in Great Britain and the government is trying to deal with the huge rise of firms. Firms are groups of hooligans who live for two things: football and fighting. Unable to deal with this issue using normal methods, Police decided to send four of their own men undercover in an effort to expose the hidden bosses of these firms. John, a young police officer takes his assignment very seriously and easily blends into this harsh environment. As time passes, he will begin to notice that things are not changing for the better, but for the worse…
When you hear the words undercover cop, you usually think of someone infiltrating a drug organization, so this change of scenery was quite welcome. I.D. also feels very real and authentic, unlike many commercial movies like Green Street Hooligans and others. This is because the scope of the movie was much bigger than the usual buhuhu emotional or primal gibberish. The class structure, powers that be that care only about power and themselves, all these elements are seamlessly woven into the story, presenting us with the ID of the standard-issue British hooligan.
The struggle within, to quote great poets Metallica, is the main subject of this movie. Reece Dinsdale really captured that vibe of the man whose life values are being changed by easy women, fighting an overwhelming feeling of growing balls. Something that we all should fear, but also acknowledge. And we also have to opportunity to see young Sean Pertwee whom you might remember from Event Horizon, Dog Soldiers, or Equilibrium. Finally, if you are a football fan, you can analyze what has changed in the last forty years when it comes to the game. Starting with tickets that were ridiculously cheap to the sportswear…
When it comes to good hooligan movies I can recommend you also check out Rise of the Footsoldier and The Firm.
Director: Phil Davis
Writers: James Bannon, Vincent O’Connell
Cast: Reece Dinsdale, Richard Graham, Perry Fenwick, Philip Glenister, Warren Clarke, Saskia Reeves, Sean Pertwee
Fun Facts: Set in mid-80s but Arsenal fan is wearing a shirt from the 1991 season