Awaydays (2009) Poster

(2009)

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9/10
Here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders.
Spikeopath10 April 2012
The road to hell is paved with good intentions Carty.

The football hooligan movie! It's a genre of film in Britain that has proved to be a sound source for farming, be it the oldies like The Firm and I.D., or the spate of them that surfaced in the last decade such as The Football Factory, Green Street and Cass, films quenching the thirst for those who were either part of the scene, those who wish they were part of the scene, or merely for those interested in maybe learning about the subject to hand. There would have been many a football hooligan film fan who ventured into Awaydays and got torpedoed by what was on offer. For this is a different animal, a deep picture with heart and brains and as it turns out, it's the most misunderstood movie of the football hooligan splinter.

It's an everyday reminder of the absurdity of life.

Set in 1979 on The Wirral, Merseyside, film centres on the relationship between two lads, Carty (Bell) & Elvis (Boyle), who become great friends whilst running with The Pack, a small band of football hooligans who followed Tranmere Rovers. The Pack are different to other football mobs of the time, where the others were made up of boot boy skinheads and scarf wearing dockers, these lads wore casual sportswear, neat sweaters and sported wedge or fop haircuts. They also used Stanley Knives to maim their opponents in battle. What unfolds with the Carty & Elvis axis is that one of them, Carty, wants to be in with The Pack even though he's not sure why, while Elvis wants out but isn't sure how to achieve his goals. They both need each other, but for different reasons. It seems......

Welcome to the petite bourgeoisie.

Writer Sampson achieves a rare old thing in the genre, he manages to not glamorise the violence perpetrated by the football mob. He cloaks some of his characters in misery and others as sad misfits, and he perfectly understands that violence for these people is a drug, their unity is a need to belong, a means to escaping what they see as a void in their lives. With Carty and Elvis, they are from different backgrounds: Elvis lives alone in a gungey flat (nicknamed The Bat Cave), he's a tortured wastrel with a cynical outlook on life, Carty, recently rocked by the death of his Mother, still has a job with good wages, a father, a kid sister whom he adores and a clean family home. As Elvis tells Carty, almost bitingly, that he has it all and he doesn't belong with the people he so desperately wants to be with.

Hate the World it's so romantic.

It has been coined as the film that finds This is England meeting Control, and that is fair enough, though it's more of a burden since many observers accuse Awaydays of lacking freshness and not being worthy of mentioning with those two excellent movies. Yet Awaydays gets it mostly right, the period detail is spot on, and suitably grim as it turns out for a depressed Thatcher era backdrop. From old slam door trains and vinyl selling record shops, to the apparel sported by the old football gangs and the new casual look of The Pack, Sampson clearly knows his onions. One criticism I saw laughed that the youngsters of The Pack were fighting grown men, how it looked ridiculous, but that's exactly what it was, out with the old and in with the new. 1979 marked the crossover from the boot boy scarf wearing thug to the young "dressers" that would become infamous as football warfare reached a front page news zenith in the 1980s. The film may ultimately be about an unorthodox "bromance", with thematics of alienation, grief, family and addiction threaded deftly into the story, but it sure as hell knows the era as much as it does the characters.

Where will it end?

Which brings us to sound tracking and acting. The makers have fashioned a brilliant sound track that blends with each passage of play in the film; quite often marrying up to the character's emotional states. This is the post-punk era and that means Joy Division, John Foxx's Ultravox, Magazine, Echo & The Bunnymen and The Cure form the backbone of the soundtrack. All great bands and all purveyors of sadness, poetry and a veer from the norm. The acting away from Boyle (outstanding emotional layers) and Bell (wonderfully enigmatic) is a bit hit and miss, but such is the strength of the work by those two, film doesn't suffer. Stephen Graham is a darn fine actor, but nobody should be thinking he is stretching himself here, it's a role he could do in his sleep, but it always remains a well etched characterisation of an ex-squaddie who clearly can't let go of violence in his life. Oliver Lee is suitably menacing as the sadistic Baby Milan, and Grainger does well with a small female role in a film that uses the ladies perfunctorily. Must mention Mitchell's photography, which has moments of brilliance (check out the near water shots) that belie the low budget of the production.

Dislocation.

Some character motives are sketchy and Scouse accents are wayward at times, but this is an excellent film if you know what sort of film awaits you. It's a far cry from the chest thumping machismo of those films mentioned earlier, in that respect it's a failure. But as a character study, an examination of confused souls searching for something to bind their life to, and a observation of a young male friendship under unusual circumstances, Holden & Sampson's film is a near masterpiece. 9/10
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8/10
Punchy, Vibrant Adaptation Of The Novel
thesandfly7722 October 2009
There seems to be some ill-will towards this tidy little parable and I cannot understand why.

Maybe the Joy Division fanboys feel the material is misplaced but I contend the great soundtrack is only used to set time and place and does not work in reverse like some latter day music vid.

Nor is it a 'hooligan' movie.

My own reaction was that this is a terrific effort, both from a committed cast and production side who nail the period in perfect British bleakness.

The football hooliganism feels like it is intended - a fantastical sideshow and not the main thrust of the film which centres around a lower middle-class lad's attempt for acceptance by a pack of working-class hooligans and the unrequited homosexual love between him and the pack's coolest member.

Carty, said middle-class lad, ultimately is a tourist, and the film conveys this superbly while whipping us along for the ride.

Pay little attention to those attempting to fold this boisterous creation into a pigeon hole; it stands on its own as a potent reflection of a sentimentally grim time in British culture.

Entertaining, admirable and bittersweet. Watch it.
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9/10
Brilliant UK Indie Film
kale-brody29 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm sure this film isn't everyone's cup o' tea, I went in not expecting much, just hoping the soundtrack would live up to the hype. But I've got to say it is an amazingly good passage-of-rites drama. Vicious and Beautiful, it defies genre and is totally refreshing.

Nicky Bell and Liam Boyle are two real discoveries, Boyle's Elvis character is pitch perfect, a complex and compelling performance that will make him a star, whilst Bell broods convincingly throughout.

It has the best soundtrack ever. No messing around! Makes me wish I was around for that 1979 post punk period.

Awaydays has a purposely ( I assume ) lo-fi look which really helps convey the grim post-thatcher Merseyside setting. All the clothes and general design looks spot on ( and often eerily contemporary ) Best film of the year by far.I pray that Elvis didn't die and ends up in Berlin so there's a sequel.
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10/10
A neo-classic hooligan musical you shouldn't miss
empengi16 June 2009
Anyone with taste in music, aged 30 to 40, and has ever been to a football match, simply MUST watch this film. Engaging story, atmospheric setting, good performances and a cracking soundtrack. Shouldn't need to say any more than that really. Stephen Graham has a presence even in this small role, and the man is surely the 'one to watch' of all the UK's aspiring actors. This film is almost a rocumentary of life on and off the terraces for anyone who had any experience of the lives being portrayed, or even for anyone who's remotely interested in them... Stylish but gritty, frightening yet funny, it's got a bit of everything, and will be on my DVD shelf as soon as it comes out. Well worth a trip to the cinema, away from the usual soulless Hollywood pap. Ten out of ten for sure.
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Surprisingly mature memoir of a time dominated by teenage angst and rebellion.
Otoboke5 November 2009
The year is 1978; the hippies have been replaced by the punk rockers, the depressive artists following acts like Lou Reed, Ultravox and Joy Division under the ever gloomy landscape of Margaret Thatcher's reformed Great Britain. For many it was a time to put your head down and get on with it, no matter how depressing it might have been—and then for other's it was more of an opportunity to let loose; to express the frustration built up inside by the disappointing anti-climax of the nineteen-sixties revolutions; their now forgotten refrain of "all you need is love" now replaced with council flats, minimum wage and a cheap night out at the pub to somehow make up for a day's soul-crushing monotony. Yeah, it wasn't a pretty time, and some people didn't necessarily want to make it any better. Nope, rather it was not uncommon for youngsters of the time who had nothing better to do (no jobs, no prospects, and no educational benefits) to indulge in past-times akin to pouring salt in a wound or prodding at a loose tooth just for the sake of reminding yourself of your dire situation. The country had a massive abscess, and rather than going to dentist to get it seen to, the youth would seek to the anger out through arbitrary fights with rival football fans, just for the sake of it. Sure, in retrospect it might seem a little melodramatic coming from a culture that produced the moody post-punk acts of the seventies, but Awaydays seeks to marry that sense of romance, with something a little more human too.

For the most part, director Pat Holden succeeds in bringing out the potency to Kevin Sampson's novel that strives to overcome the somewhat petty, pedestrian nature of this "football hooliganism" counter-culture. The movie's first act which focuses highly on the utterly detestable and seemingly unredeemable characters who would take part in these shallow acts of psychological transference, is unsurprisingly the weakest—but what comes after is something a little more enlightening and insightful. After spending a good half hour with these chaps that you'd probably find hanging outside your local cinema harassing customer's to buy them a "bevy from the offy", Holden takes some time away from the cliché elements of Sampson's novel (domestic quibbles and teenage angst) and brings the focus onto the budding friendship of its two central characters Elvis (Liam Boyle) and Paul Carty (Nicky Bell) who are more than just drunken thugs with zero prospects.

Carty is an art-school dropout who finds a lifestyle he is suddenly attracted to in the form of Elvis who is an aspiring, romantic artist who also dabbles in a bit of thuggery and drugs to make sure he's not perceived as a "total ****". Both share a common love of girls, popular, rebellious music and of course, football—or rather, beating up football fans. Unfortunately, going by scripture set in vinyl by their Godfather Ian Curtis while this common ground brings them together for short periods of time, it also tears them apart. From the offset, Carty comes off as a day-tripping tourist in search of a few months living like common people, and Elvis as an overly self-conscious sheep who is never quite sure of what he wants or how to get it—yeah, teenagers. This in turn with Holden's persistence that his feature be brimming and truthful with the emotional roller-coaster that was teenage life of the time is going to disgruntle viewers, but only because of the subject matter, rather than the way in which he portrays such subjects. Rather, taken from a distance, Awaydays is surprisingly reflective of those troublesome years, but never succumbs to the one-track mind-frame that dominates its central characters—these guys have more faults than virtues sure, but Holden makes sure to give them more than one dimension that is fleshed out after the first act into a dynamic that is thought-provoking and insightful enough to make you forget their misgivings.

What really helps to keep Awaydays afloat however are the performances of its central cast who, spearheaded by the charismatic and nuanced portrayals of Elvis and Carty, nail the humanist tones that echo throughout Sampson's story. So as the movie goes on, it gets to a certain point where you actually feel for these two guys and their situation—you may not like them, but they become more than just caricature thugs glorifying their right to expression by cutting up strangers' faces. Of course, there are still problems going into the film's closing stages which result largely from the melodrama associated with all this romantic tint put on the two character's plight, but when taken in context of Holden's otherwise extremely grim and bleak tale of late seventies street crime, such minor distractions fail to take any major precedence. The result is a surprisingly mature memoir of a time dominated by teenage angst and rebellion against a rather inhospitable society that—although flawed—works far more than it necessarily should.

  • A review by Jamie Robert Ward (http://www.invocus.net)
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10/10
Thoroughly entertaining!!!!!!!!
andrew-green1828 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Thoroughly entertaining and engaging adaptation of a cult novel, i would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys this style of film - along with I.D., Football Factory, The Firm, Green Street etc this is that type of fast paced take on football hooliganism. The characters are rock solid and portrayed excellently with commitment and enthusiasm. There is an arty, melancholy, even decidedly feminine touch to some parts of the film which lends it a neat contrast. I would actually read the book to understand the characters better - that's how much i enjoyed it! Despite a few very small details picked up by other viewers this is, i feel, a very underrated film which deserves more recognition for daring to be different. The performances by Nicky Bell and Liam Boyle in particular are powerful stuff.
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3/10
Pretentious Nonsense
graham_52523 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I've just ploughed my way through this mess of a film on DVD. It started off very promising, I liked the music and that it was set in the late 1970s. Also the fact that it was a hooligan film not set in London was very refreshing. However it quickly descended into tedious self indulgent drivel. It was one of those films where after an hour or so you felt that every scene might be the last and the place where it ended didn't make any more sense than it ending anywhere else. The fight scenes were pure fantasy. A bunch of wimpy young lads seemed to be able to go anywhere and turn over gangs of hardened grown men. The violence was also presented as deep and profound as if it was it was the perfect back drop to the tortured sound of bands like Joy Division.

When one of The Pack murders the gang leader by cutting in his throat in a crowded pub with no apparent repercussions legal or otherwise I realised this was a a fantasy film. A middle class art students take on what it is to be violent. By the end I was barely aware of what was going on I was so bored.

I give it a 3 rather than a 1 for the music, the fashion and the haircuts.
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6/10
Ken Loach The Musical
Theo Robertson21 September 2012
This is has got to be one of the most bizarre movies I've seen in a very long time . It has the gloomy , gritty , realist kitchen sink drama you've seen a million times from every Ken Loach film . Somewhat conscious of this Pat Holden then introduces a contemporary soundtrack tothe film , a soundtrack that seems to go on and on . According to the wikipedia a grand total of 28 tracks are used throughout the running time . You can't get enough of doom laden nihilistic songs , tunes to slash your wrists to ? Then you'll probably enjoy AWAYDAYS . Oh and you're also a latent homosexual who can't catch enough homo erotic glances from male characters in a movie ? In that case you might just believe this is a gay , kitchen sink , pop video equivalent of GONE WITH THE WIND

These aren't necessarily criticisms and AWAYDAYS would go down very well with film students wanting to discuss kitchen sink British drama or gay cinema or wider existentialist themes . Certainly the look and feel of the movie resembles that of many classic PLAY FOR TODAY dramas but the problem is there seems to be three different type of films trying to escape

Certainly the best aspect of the film is its sense of time and place . Unlike Nick Love's remake of THE FIRM you really do believe the story is taking place in its chronological setting , so much so that Holden gives the impression that he owns a Tardis . The hairstyles and fashion and whole feel of the movie screams that it's 1979 Merseyside . However this is the only thing Holden manages to capture well and convey to the audience

It's interesting how extreme some of the reviews on this page are and after watching AWAYDAYS you'll take on board both the praise and criticism . Both sides are right in their arguments and I'm sticking by my one line summary at the top of this review
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4/10
Well made but messy and muddled 'hooligan' film
davideo-21 June 2009
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

After the death of his mother, Paul (Nicky Bell) is looking for some direction in his life and thinks he's found it with 'the pack', a gang of football hooligans in late '70s Merseyside with a distinctive dress sense and tribal mentality. However, an encounter with former top boy Elvis (Liam Boyle) gives him an alternate view of them and the possibility of moving his life in a more positive direction. Elvis's dream is to escape to Berlin and lead a more fulfilling life and this is a direction Paul sees...but circumstances beyond his control drag him down with those around him and see his life thrown into chaos.

As morally dubious as they are, 'hooligan' films certainly have their own cult following in the UK, although this dramatization of a late 70s Merseyside gang has received limited exposure. It's an admirable piece, without any funding from any of the big London studios (ah), and it's not translated particularly badly into a film. But that doesn't mean it works.

The performances from the two lead actors are fine, as well as supporting actors such as man of the moment Stephen Graham in a smaller role, but who manages to have presence even with this. And it's an engaging piece of human drama, that manages to sweep you along with enough substance and depth to keep you hooked. But it's all lost on some weird art-house trip with itself, with slow, lingering close up shots of Boyle's bare chest and symbolism with red paint flowing between fingers representing blood, all done to a haunting Joy Division soundtrack. While it's stuck in this rut, the story becomes less engaging, the characters lose their depth and the film generally becomes a bit of a mess. Hardly a failure, but still a bit of a shame. **
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4/10
Disappointing
footballmonk2 August 2009
Having read Kevin Sampson's thoughtful novel the screen version is something of a disappointment. Characterisation and motivation are largely over-looked in favour of scenes of adrenaline-charged violence. The clothing and style of the era are meticulously created for "The pack" (the hooligan group that Carty joins) but you have to question why the people they fight are generally older less fashionably dressed groups. The pack also emerge from every fight with barely an injury. The music itself is good but often misused - is Joy Division's delicately mournful "The Eternal" really an appropriate soundtrack to a group of bovver boys snarling their way down the street? Shane Meadows "This is England" offers a far superior vision of the period.
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6/10
It has it's flaws, but it isn't terrible...
the_rattlesnake2518 June 2009
'Awaydays' is not your typical football hooligan film, the sub-culture of football hooliganism in the early years of Thatcher's Britain is there to set the brooding scene, however it is evocative the homo-erotic relationship between Carty (Nicky Bell) and the eccentric Elvis (Liam Boyle) that takes centre stage and gives Paul Holden's film slightly more depth than simply being a film about men taking out their boredom in the form of fighting on a Saturday afternoon.

Paul Carty is a suburban male who is drawn towards the 'The Pack', a group of thugs who take their excitement from fighting on a Saturday afternoon all across Britain, through these encounters he grows closer and closer with a bohemian working-class character in Elvis. Elvis just wants to move away to Berlin and start a new life around people who understand him, while Carty just wants to find direction in his life after his mother's death. As they connect through their mutual love of Bowie, the Liverpudlian music scene and Art, they develop an increasingly complex relationship that is bordering on the homoerotic. It is this intricate bond between these two seemingly different, yet very similar and flawed 'men' that keeps the film ticking over. If you removed this key component then the film falls a little flat, with Kevin Sampson's script missing out many explanations to key elements such as why Carty is drawn towards the allure of the 'The Pack' in the first place and the death of John. With that said, it is hauntingly shot with a soundtrack that compliments Pat Holden's sombre directorial style, and even though at times he has a tendency to delve too much into the LSD-induced hallucinogenic state's of both boys minds, he does it with little expense to the viewer.

If you want a film that doesn't simply look at the male phenomenon of having a good scrap on a Saturday afternoon because we're all bored and working class zombies in a capitalist machine ('Football Factory', 'Green Street') then 'Awaydays' is for you, as it offers just that bit more and is akin to something of a 'football-love-story'.
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4/10
Not the best and a bit of a yawn
Tried desperately hard to enjoy this film and it seemed to start off OK but the mixed story lines, and slow moving scenes etc meant I was nodding off about half way through and found it a struggle to get to the end.

Some good bits but too jumbled and so many loose ends to really enjoy along with a damp squid of an ending that did it no favours. The sound track was probably the most enjoyable element with some decent 70's 80's tunes throughout.

As hooligan films go, bit more realistic in places than sum such as Green St which is utter tosh but not on the same level as the original film of the 'Firm' with Gary Oldman which is a classic and still the best in my opinion.
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8/10
More intelligent than your average " Hooligan" film
john-clarke-253371 February 2019
I watched this film a few years ago and recently viewed it again. Maybe it is because I am that bit older now but I really enjoyed it 2nd time around. This is so much more than just another football hooligan film, yes of course it has obligatory fight scenes between rival supporters but there is a really decent back story involved. a troubled disaffected youth in hard time England trying to find an identity and become a face in the firm whilst also trying to be the man of the house and being part of the family and being a role model; for his younger sister, the struggle to balance both life styles is difficult if not impossible and you always get the sense that he really isn't sure which way to turn. After obtaining the notoriety and acceptance he craved for so long you realise that perhaps he is not sure it is what he actually wanted or believed it was going to be. Then there is the character Elvis, brilliantly played and acted a kind of intellectual thug who seems to gain no pleasure in what he does but again struggles to find that one chance/lifeline that can give him what he wants, trouble is he too isn't sure what it is he wants. Set to a fantastic soundtrack and a bleak background this is a great movie that does take a little more concentration than many other Hooligan movies but that's because it has a story outside of just jumping on the train having a fight, back to the pub to arrange the next weeks excursion. The fashion is of its time and plays a big part in my enjoyment of the movie. Give it a watch you wont be disappointed .. a hidden gem in the hoolie genre that offers that little something more.
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8/10
Awaydays
michaeljnrb9 January 2019
Great movie really good movie really recommend for 15 year olds
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7/10
Questions from a Canadian learning about hooligan culture
StarWarsDisco5 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I don't mind the insane and needless violence portrayed here. Young men full of testosterone who come from poverty or working class conditions is certainly a bad mix that leads to violence and anti-social behaviour in all societies. But what I don't understand is how a gang of idiots can unflinchingly assault police officers, or how one foot soldier can get his ass kicked for a while, then get up and slice a guy's face (or neck? possibly killing a guy?) in front of the police, and then walk away from it all. Is this really a believable situation in Thatcher-era northwestern England?
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4/10
Reasonable
ollie-the-owl7728 February 2010
As someone who was born in Birkenhead and lived in Wirral for over 30 years, the first thing that struck me was the awful accents. Even I struggled to understand! Hardly surprising that most of the cast is from Manchester. It's difficult too to pin a time on the film, 70s buses and trains then a modern Renault Clio and some recent Merseyrail trains. All of which just make me think 'must try harder'

A group of young kids embark on several fights against men 3 of 4 times their age, come out unmarked. Little to make you feel for any characters, a death that comes out of the blue with no real reason.....all in all, not great. My reason for watching....spotting the local landmarks and a decent soundtrack. Perhaps I should have read the book instead.
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1/10
Oh dear oh dear...
LondonAcidHouse1988198927 August 2012
I've seen some rubbish in my time but this just about plumbs the depths - to be honest it started to veer into so-bad-it's-good territory and me and my friends were having a good little chuckle by the end. Where do you start when it comes to pointing out the weak-points - the wimpy teenagers beating up proper thirty-something geezers, the completely mismatched music (80s football hooligans ditching the jazz-funk or later acid house and listening to Joy Division!), the camp bloke who wouldn't have lasted a second, the accents (which even I a non-Scouser know are laughable)....it goes on and on...The fact that such rubbish even got made tells you more about the right-on nature of parts of the British media than anything else
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1/10
Awaydays the novel - 10. Awaydays the film - 1.
Ali_John_Catterall9 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
There's a track on Joy Division's 1979 album 'Unknown Pleasures' called 'Insight', in which the narrator - possibly Ian Curtis, possibly a character - reflects on the lost dreams of youth; how he's resolved to never fulfilling them. And how that fact no longer fills him with fear. It's a song for a 45-year-old man sung by a 22-year-old. At the 2 minute 15 second mark, immediately following a sonic shoot-out, there's a strange ribbed sound, in an album filled with extraordinary sounds, repeated three times in quick succession. Hooky's bass? Stephen Morris' snare? Something producer Martin Hannett cooked up over the mixing desk? Who knows? But that sound, at less than a second long, is more interesting than anything in the whole of Awaydays.

The 1998 cult novel the film is adapted from, however, is just fascinating. Straddling Liverpool's music and football scenes circa 1979, this complex rites-of-passage tale explores class-tourism, teenage nihilism, pack-violence, and the unspoken homo-erotic tensions in close male friendships. And the music of Joy Division. It's beautiful, poetic, and quite literary, but don't take this reviewer's word for it - take its author Kevin Sampson's: "It's beautiful, poetic, and quite literary." Sampson also wrote the screenplay, about which he says "It's taut and punchy, but poetic too. It's beautiful." Can you detect a theme here? "As a film", he says, "it's in a league of its own." Except this time, it isn't. Awaydays functions as a really good argument for why writers should never be allowed to adapt their own novels for the screen.

As in the novel, arty Carty (Nicky Bell) becomes fascinated with the hooligans at Tranmere Rovers. His passport into this knife-wielding, wedge-cut world is Elvis (Liam Boyle), a young working-class romantic-savage who stands at the intersection between two subcultures. The noose he hangs in his new wave riot of a bedroom, "a reminder of the absurdity of life and certainty of death". The unlikely pair embark on a messy, complicated bromance, before the disturbed Elvis drifts into heroin abuse and a depressive spiral, while Carty is sucked ever deeper into a lifestyle he cannot control. Can either of them bail out before something terrible happens?

Something terrible already happened - this movie: a pretentious, grubbily voyeuristic paean to football hooliganism, kitted out with ubiquitous slo-mo violence, tactical post-punk hits and retro fashions, while entirely lacking the kind of insights director Alan Clarke brought to 1988's The Firm. There are serious casting problems too: Carty is supposed to be a kind of proto-Renton from Trainspotting, selfish and ruthless - yet Bell possesses all the charisma of Rodders from 'Only Fools And Horses'. The dialogue and delivery also errs on the 'Grange Hill' side, while as is often the case with pop-period dramas, the clothes look too box-fresh and the walk-on bands suspiciously modern-sounding.

Another thing that sticks in the craw a bit is the film's use of Joy Division, a band currently enjoying a huge cultural resuscitation. As in the novel, Awaydays heavily genuflects to everybody's favourite Ballardian bards, thematically and musically. Scene after scene depicts Carty and Elvis gazing out over the Mersey, dreaming of Berlin, while enormous chemical barges drift by to doomy soundtracks from Unknown Pleasures and Closer. "Where will it end?" Elvis repeatedly quotes from 'Day Of The Lords'. While his exit, he assures Carty, will be facilitated to the strains of Curtis, Hooky and Co: "'New Dawn Fades' on low, noose around the neck, off we jolly well pop."

All this, at least, is in context. And yet... and yet had Awaydays been made by anyone other than Sampson and producer Dave Hughes (both original scenesters), and had Sampson not already doffed his cap to them, you'd swear blind its makers were cynically exploiting the music and mythos of this immensely popular band to peddle their poxy movie. As Nigel Blackwell of Birkenhead's Half Man Half Biscuit sung in 2005, "I've been to a post-punk postcard fair in me Joy Division oven gloves", a comment on the lengths merchandising will go to turn profundity into commodity. (Satire so often being a psychic projection of future reality, two years later Yo! Sushi was offering diners a 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' salmon and tuna takeaway box set.)

Awaydays' use of the group's music does seem contrived and desperate, but perhaps it isn't the film's fault. Ian Curtis has been metaphorically exhumed so many times since 1980, it's eventually bound to result in Joy fatigue. Familiarity will tear us apart. And yet nobody's really to blame. Certainly not New Order. Nor Anton Corbijn. Or even Tony Wilson, God rest him.

If anything, it's probably our fault. The market is duly rounding up every last shred of the past to cater to our insatiable nostalgia. That definitive album (until the next even more 'definitive' one), complete with 15 outtakes, seven additional remixes, 52 alternate versions and a live gig, is ours for the download. Along, no doubt, with the Ian Curtis pincushion, jelly mould and soap-on-a-rope. Where will it end, indeed?
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5/10
This movie needs subtitles...and something happening
Heislegend17 October 2009
If there's one thing I have learned watching British cinema it is this: for a country that gave name to the English language, they sure know how to ruin said language. I seriously almost turned the movie off within the first 15 minutes because I could barely understand what anyone was saying. I've spent enough time in the UK to get most of the slang and whatnot, but the accents of the two main characters are just too thick. Plus, as one reviewer has already pointed out, the movie is rather bland. I think it wanted to be a slightly more dramatic version of Green Street Hooligans, but it ended up as a similar movie without much of the fighting or compelling story.

To be honest with you, I really like the idea of completely ditching the relationship between the two main characters. It's nearly impossible to follow and pretty pointless. And while I usually enjoy watching Stephen Graham do his thing, this role is a bit of a waste for him.

All in all I'd find it hard to give this a good recommendation to a friend. It's not awful, but it just feels kind of pointless. If it was more an interesting snapshot of England in the 1970's (along with the hooligan aspect) it would've worked a lot better. Throw in all the melodramatic pointlessness and it becomes increasingly less so. I guess you could watch it if you didn't have anything better to do, but that's all the endorsement I'm willing to give it.
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6/10
A different insight into football hooliganism
charlie_mcp4 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
As a keen, passionate football fan who arrived on the scene way after the 'golden age' of football hooliganism, this particular genre of film really appeals to me.

Awaydays is totally different to the laddish, almost comedic 'Football Factory' and the attempted honourable, noble portrayal of football hooliganism in 'Green Street' - Awaydays offers a negative, gloomy, dangerous view of a by-gone era, and refreshingly so.

I thought the complicated bromance between the two main characters was acted extremely well, very believable. However, the running time of the film didn't allow for the complexity of their relationship to develop properly.

The two other factors that really bugged me about this film were the fight scenes; a group of teenagers easily turning over gangs of fully grown men, and a fellow member of the gang killing the leader for no real reason - without any repercussions. The two were having a disagreement throughout the film over one of them selling heroin to other members of the 'firm', but the sub-plot was far too thin to make such a drastic action relevant.

Overall, an interesting film offering a different insight into the 'casual' culture. The mood may be more in touch with the reality of that particular lifestyle, but a few major drawbacks prevent Awaydays from pulling off its intended significance and impact.
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1/10
Oh dear....
Arthur seaton16 July 2010
This film is jarringly bad - there's the odd decent tune on the soundtrack, but how did this garbage ever get made. We live in harsh, recession hit times, yet people still had money to waste on making this!!!!! Sometimes, the world just doesn't make sense.

Where to start... Acting - uniformly bad; the accents - terrible; the screenplay: Sampson cannot blame anyone else for this mess - he adapted his own novel (have not read the book but would anyone be encouraged to after seeing the film?) He clearly doesn't understand the period that well, though - scousers did not talk like this in the late seventies. In sociolinguistic terms, the dialogue is miles off! I didn't get beyond the 12-minute mark; without a doubt, a contender for the worst film ever made.
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2/10
Says nothing
Leofwine_draca15 October 2013
AWAYDAYS is one of the dullest films I've sat through in a while. Ostensibly a hard-hitting exploration of life as a football thug, in reality this is just a piece of trash. The diabolical script, littered with c-words and other mindless thuggery, fails to distinguish between different characters and also fails to explore any of the themes we usually associate with good film-making, namely redemption, honour, respect, integrity.

There are no character arcs, no growth, no exploration of the human spirit. The only distinctive character is the one played by Stephen Graham, who feels like a pastiche of Robert Carlyle's infamous character in TRAINSPOTTING. There are violent scenes of head-kicking and gang fighting, but none of them are presented with an ounce of interest. They're not even particularly hard-hitting.

Most of the cast are undoubtedly amateurs and that's more than obvious in the wooden faces and stilted dialogue. If you're looking for a film in this vein then I recommend Peter Mullan's NEDS, which handles the same era and the same topics in an infinitively better, harder-hitting and thoroughly engaging way.
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4/10
Dull
filmsploitation27 August 2009
Phil's Quick Capsule Review: Is to football movies what WestHam v Millwall is to patience and good will. Away Days wants to be cool but different. Like Green Street but with a odd gay love triangle twist. Problem is it's don eon a shoe string budget, dull as dishwater and boring to boot. Avoid and wait for The Firm.

IMDb Rating: 4/10

Best Bit: The fights

Buy, Rent or Borrow: Borrow

If you liked this try: Rise of The Footsolider (7/10); Football Factory (7/10); ID (7/10)

Phil Hobden For more reviews like this check out:

http://www.mod-life.net/modlife/index_ugly.htm
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1/10
A half baked egg
vj-5422926 July 2015
half baked egg, the soundtracks are not even full and complete, I mean, if I wanted to get a CD all i would get is meaningless half finished tracks,

there is no storyline in the movie, somehow bits and pieces are tied together with a shoe string budget and served on the platter like a half baked potato,

a lot of things are implied in the movie, but we aren't going to the cinema and day dream about actions, we are there to see a story, and it conveys little and leaves much to imaginations, probably the script writer imagines things too much,

a lot of scenes don't make much sense, and neither the appeal, probably the movie was made to fit a soundtrack, cmon it is not a movie just a snack made out of some rotten half baked products and ideas, oh well, why did I even bother seeing it!
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4/10
you scouse chaaantss....
FlashCallahan10 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Another year, another film about football, and the cult that is hooliganism.

This time, they have Stephen Graham in a del-boy jacket and cool moustache and a quite good soundtrack to try and sell the film. It all fails miserably.

It's the everyday story of a young lad who is bored with life, is at a football match and sees some violence and wants in, and starts to ignore his family in favour of the football (or rather the fighting).

it's your typically clichéd movie. and the one that stands out the most is the fact that the one who lets him into the group 'Elvis', is rejected by Carty halfway through.

In the films favour though, it's realistically filmed, Bell is very good in his role,and Stephen Graham may as well change his name to Robert Carlyle, as now he will always be remembered for his role in 'this is england' as Carlyle is for Trainspotting.

the story doesn't really go anywhere, we just see Carty sink deeper an deeper into the abyss, all the while not realising that Elvis is blatantly in love with him.

there really hasn't been a good 'Firm' movie since Clarks TV drama 'the firm', and this is just another nail in the football movie coffin.

give me when Saturday comes any-day
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