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Awaydays review

A fresh look at the football hooligan culture in the '70s

Set in ’70s Liverpool, Pat Holden’s film tells of a bored teenager (Nicky Bell) who, having befriended the charismatic Elvis (Liam Boyle) at an Echo & The Bunnymen gig, falls in with his pack of football ‘casuals’.

Cue much Stanley knife-related mayhem, homoerotic tension and some Trainspotting-style heroin taking to the strains of such post-punk icons as Magazine, The Cure and Joy Division.

Alas, being based on Kevin Sampson’s 10-year-old cult novel doesn’t stop this being a pale facsimile of Shane Meadows’ masterly This Is England, a likeness that’s only heightened by the presence of Stephen Graham as gang leader John.

To its credit, Awaydays does not glamorise its hooligans the way The Football Factory and Green Street did. Even so, given its fascination with their Adidas trainers, green cagoules, drainpipe jeans and wedge haircuts, it does come perilously close to fetishising them.

Neil Smith

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Available platformsMovie