As I already mentioned, while reviewing another movie about hooligans I.D., The Football Factory is the best movie in the sub-genre. The perfect storm happened with Rockstar Games producing the movie, Danny Dyer playing the main role and the whole fucking thing being actually based on the novel of the same name by John King. Just think of it like Fight Club with football. Or soccer, if you happen to live in the USA. Although it does have a strong criminal element to it bringing it closer to Guy Ritchie movies like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch.
The Football Factory is a fast-paced and vibrant action thriller that caters to the male population. It evokes those ancient feelings of camaraderie, social status, and other tribal values. Later on, we will delve deeper into these things, perhaps even too deep. So, if this is something you’re interested in, do read on. However, you don’t need to analyze anything to enjoy this movie. I remember being blown away by it some fifteen years ago. Back then I was a young and impressionable bloke and it hit a certain chord with me.
Tommy Johnson is a young, strong, and restless guy who likes to spend his days drinking, doing drugs, fighting, and chasing women. He’s a member of a Chelsea firm, a group of football hooligans, led by a ruthless man that goes by the name of Harris. Constantly on the strung-out, Tommy is slowly starting to lose his grip on reality. This is where he meets Tamara, a court clerk who really likes him…
There are two ways to watch this movie. The first one is the casual/scientific approach. You simply watch the movie and don’t balk at what’s going on. And morally condemning it for making hooligans look “cool”. And the second one is this judgy approach where you would simply dismiss hooligans as bad. It fits in perfectly with the tribal system of values dismissal of anything it doesn’t understand. It’s deemed either mad or bad.
Now, I personally don’t like football hooligans. However, that doesn’t prevent me from watching movies or shows about them. Mostly because I want to learn more about them and their motivations. And how the whole thing relates to me, as a person. As a male who follows football, I feel drawn to them and some other time we will get into male specifics, what’s the appeal, and everything else.
However, if I needed to sum up the findings: this is a tribal ritual thing pertaining to one’s perception of self and its role in society. If someone starts trashing you on a moral basis because you watched this movie and liked it, you have a fine explanation for them. The Football Factory is full of “cool” scenes of violence, drinking, having sex, and all the other fun stuff. If you did not understand why men like to fight this movie will explain it. It’s that feeling of respect and being proud that you are a stronger man. Classic tribal shit, with the proposed “official ideology” failing to define the man’s role in this modern world.
I go into more detail about this issue in a review for another movie about hooligans: Cass. Of course, if you want to know more, you should check out two television series exploring these things. Both of them feature Danny Dyer as the host: The Real Football Factories and The Real Football Factories International.
Director: Nick Love
Writers: John King, Nick Love
Cast: Danny Dyer, Frank Harper, Tamer Hassan, Roland Manookian, Neil Maskell
Fun Facts: After a fight between rival football fans broke out during the projection in Malmo, Sweden, The Football Factory was banned from cinemas.