Anchorman, The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

Starring Danny Dyer and Frank Harper. Directed by Nick Love.
Running Time:
Rated: 94 mins

All you suspected about football hooligans is brought to the screen - and more. It is hard to tell what non-British audiences will make of this film apart from confirming a lot of opinions and prejudices. These men are truly a rough and brutal lot.

Actually, the film must be quite well made because we feel as if we have got to know these people, even though we would never want to meet them. We have been led into their world and, for a time, trapped there.
The central character (Danny Dyer) reminds us that he works in a boring job all week and so what could be better on the weekend than bashing fans from rival football clubs, a whole of drinking and a bit of sex. The various leaders in the hooligan hierarchy are introduced, the groupings and loyalties explained clearly, the tactics laid out before we see them in action.

One of the disturbing features of the factory is that the next generation is on the hooligan assembly line from the earliest years. We see the kids bashing - and moving into drugs and petty thieving. The rivalries in north London also have racist overtones.

It is all quite well done, well acted, especially by Dyer who you think is an innocent at times but who is able to regress very easily, by Frank Harper as Billy Bright, the not-so-bright bully boy who wants to be boss and by Jamie Foreman as a racist, British National Party type taxi driver. These are the people behind the headlines - seeing a film like this means that they are no longer mere statistics but people whose lives are real, however regrettable their yobbish attitudes and behaviour.

Fr Peter Malone MSC is the International President of SIGNIS: the World Association for Catholic Communications and an Associate of the Australian Catholic Film Office.

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