The Football Factory Starring: Danny Dyer, Frank Harper, Tamer Hassan, Dudley Sutton Director: Nick Love The film: Although British lad mags and tabloids gave this a unanimous thumbs up on its timely release just before the European Cup this summer, the film has not scored big time elsewhere. Told through the eyes of Tommy Johnson (Danny Dyer, Human Traffic, Mean Machine), in his late 20s, who works through his dead-end job and lives for weekends of 'casual sex, watered down lager, heavily cut drugs and occasionally kicking the f*** out of someone', the world of those obsessed with football-related violence comes under scrutiny. Based on John King's 1996 best-selling novel of the same name, sub-headings pop up on screen listing football fixtures that Johnson and his fellow Chelsea-supporting thugs work towards with plans of attack formations on the 'firms' of opposing football teams. These firms, to be clear, are the hooligan element - rather than the football supporters who actually watch the matches - who constantly try to outwit and out-bash opposing gangs. Director Nick Love hired real ex- and current hooligans to take part as extras in fight scenes and behind the camera to offer advice on authentic choreographing of violent clashes. In the accompanying making-of documentary, he says that this was necessary as he wanted accuracy in portrayal and stated that he would hate nothing more than real firm members to watch the film and declare fight scenes unrealistic. Love claims that he is in no way glorifying football-related violence. Though it's impossible to imagine any viewer taking this seriously, there are certainly more issues being played out than the handful of bloody batterings that feature. Working-class and middle-class male culture is examined in a series of relationships that unfold. Billy Bright (Frank Harper, Twenty-Four Seven, Bend It Like Beckham), for example, a fearsome yob of the old school in his late 40s, battles with his dual existence as a would-be middle-class family man. Meanwhile Johnson, after one violent encounter, develops a recurring nightmare that brings his own mortality into focus, and he begins to question whether his violent antics are worth his mental grief and physical pummellings. The extras: This DVD is generously stuffed with extras but, annoyingly, misses bios on the director and key cast members. Included is an audio commentary track from Love and Dyer; a making-of feature; a clown-like alternate opening scene; deleted scenes; excellent 15-minute Nick Love short film Love Story (1999); The Streets music video Fit But You Know It; a few trailers; and a booklet with information about characters and production and which translates some of the firms' favourite terminology. The verdict: Don't presume this is one long sequence of football hooliganism in action, there's more to this film than the five or six violent clashes. It's an accurate snapshot of a deadly-in-part section of male culture in modern Britain. Character development, acting and cinematography and editing are good, though a sub-plot involving Johnson's grandfather (Dudley Sutton) is a bit weak. Thankfully, there's a liberal dollop of humour thrown in to break up the more grim moments.