Thursday, 5 August 2010

The One Where I Don't *Get* Football Violence


So. The Firm.

I'm not going to lie and say I have fond memories of the original. I saw it last year, and thought it had aged.  This, another remake, is passable. It's the sort of film I would have picked up half price on Blu Ray - so, it's more proof that Love Film is good value for me.

I liked it. Don't get me wrong. But... I guess there was something missing. I know what that something was. I'm just uncomfortable with why I felt it made the film weaker, for it not being there...

@hadynpasco and @Girl_In_a_Box and I got talking.

Seemingly about football violence in general. Sassy and hubby really liked it - for the clothes, for the sound track, the nostalgia. I get that. It gives all of those things in spades.

This is controversial, but I've always thought Football Factory was a great film. Really underrated. Every hooligan film I see since then, always pales. I like it because I watch it as a black comedy. Everything about it, is so off the wall, so ludicrous, it's funny.

Definitely not safe for work, or for the easily offended!

This is by Nick Love, who made that film. It has the same style, but what surprised me, was that it seemed like a step backwards. Certainly in terms of violence. I guess you could then assume it's a better film - that Love has learnt to put the story first.

I'll ponder that, because it may well be true.

What is true... and puzzling, is why I'm interested in football violence.

I've never been in a fight in my life. I've been punched a few time, once a severe kicking - but never punched. So it's not the scrapping.

I think it's the idea of groups, firms, fighting each other - in some sort of demented loyalty to their club.

I wasn't really aware of how bad things were in the 80s. I know it still goes on now. Anyone that's been to a game, and been in a minority will know how intimidating that can be.

Seriously. WTF? I don't get it. Look at the comments below it, too. Vile. Even the video is glamourised, with the music. It's seemingly all about image, and verve.

For me, the best scene to sum this up was the opening fight. 200 odd men, running into one police van. Panicking, because the other firm hasn't shown up. Then. A Noise. The other firm. Try as they might, the Police can do nothing. It's a bizarre, tribal sight. Men in uniforms fighting - but a million miles away from a battle field.

It's nothing to do with Football. But try telling them that.

In a movie sense this has all been done before, and with out football, too.

Its essentially a remake of The Warriors. A great film - that as a kid I remember being fascinated by Dads VHS. Tribal warfare.

"Warriors... Come out to plaaaaaaaay" Now if anything was due a remake...

Rival gangs. The bits in between is just filler - and that's why I found it strange that Love chose to focus on the story. It's not really about football violence at all. That just simmers underneath.

It's about idolising someone. Being obsessed with them Wanting to be them. Then being disappointed. realising that your parents were right, and you should never have gone with them in the first place.

It's been around for years, in loads of different incarnations.

The film is pacey, and knows what it is. It plays to it's strengths, and the acting is vastly superior to Green Street. Some of the characters are miscast. The lead role of Callum could really have done with being someone a bit more believable. I liked Bex, though. Hardly Gary Oldman, but who is?

Great casting would have been Leo as Callum, and Daniel Day-Lewis as Bex. Oh... that reminds me...

"I took the father, now I'll take the son"

Cheers for reading as ever. If you haven't already, please vote top left. Al Pacino v De Niro. In a true heavyweight fight.


Mr H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr H said...

Great posting, our chat yesterday prompted me to watch Rise Of The Footsoldier again last night (maybe not the best choice with new girlfriend but ensured a few head in chest moments).

I too have a possibly unhealthy interest in the football violence side of things, some may say obsessive. I've read as many books as I can find on the subject and seen pretty much all related films all of which I study with a morbid fascination. I can't tell you why either, I'm not a violent man (angry most of the time yes but not violent) and yet I sort of understand the buzz these guys get.

Being a Man Utd fan now living in Nottingham and working 6 days a week I find it hard to go and see them play so I've sort of adopted Nottingham Forest as a team to watch and get behind and the fact I live 5 mins from the ground and my mate's nephew works in the ticket office makes going easier.

Last season at Derby away we took a minibus with 8 of us and for some reason our designated direction giver told the driver to drop us off right outside Pride Park, well done that man :-s. This wasn't really an issue as we were pretty much incognito in plain clothes with exception of Tim and Rich with Forest shirts on. This was my first time away with some of the lads and you could tell that there was some history with Derby between them, they're all a good 10 yrs older than me so there was never going to be any trouble until Tim shouts out 'YOU REDS' just before we have to walk past the two queues of their main supporters waiting to get in (imaginge walking past The Stretford End in a Leeds shirt, that'll give you some idea of the hostility).

I got that empty feeling in my stomach of an imminent kicking and felt the adrenaline rise as I realised I might actually have to look after myself here. Anyway all a bit of handbags at dawn really and we were ushered to our gate and into the ground, right next to their stand. Once in relative safety I calmed down a bit and felt somewhat relieved to be in one piece. I have to admit to feeling a little bit of a buzz. Sure I can look after myself and always have been able to but I never go looking for it and always walk away if I sense something is wrong. The bit that scared me the most, that little bit of buzz.

I've gone off tracks a bit there sorry. What I was trying to say is I sort of understand why these guys do it, the gang mentality (nice Warriors reference by the way, a personal fave, ask @innerpenguin about me and that film),needing to belong and that adrenaline rush. All the reading, film watching and knowing a few ex hooligans has prompted me to undertake a university access course to study more about it and maybe gain a qualification or two.
If I do i'll raise a glass to the lads who kick the shit out of each other at the weekend, just not drink it with them.

Thanks for letting me infiltrate your blog.


@maverick99sback said...


Thanks for infiltrating.

I think you nail it.

I guess it's like when I see a Police car zooming to the scene of "something gone wrong" - not knowing what they'll encounter. Speeding. On the wrong side of the road.

It's that "buzz".

Brilliant post, cheers for reading.