Johnny And Al's Football on Film: I.D.

This week Johnny and Al look at I.D - a gripping Phil Davis-directed film that sees an undercover policeman enjoying his time as a hooligan a little too much...

Last Updated: 31/10/12 at 12:31 Post Comment

Latest Articles

The Completed Summer Transfers List

27 comments

Here is a full list of summer transfers in 2015. They are all here...

Football365's Deadline Day Drinking Plan

2 comments

It's not big or clever, but it might just get you through a day which is either wonderful or terrifying, depending on your taste. Pull up a chair, and unlock the booze cupboard...

All Articles

"I ain't YOUR facking John. You don't know me at all, do you? Mend the fuses, fix the car, mow the lawn. It's facking boring. You think that's me. It's all bollocks. Facking house, facking babies, it's shit. I'm MY John. Me. I'm different."

So says the Detective Constable, protagonist of 1995's Phil Davis-directed film I.D, to his girlfriend. Like a lot of really excellent movies, you can explain the plot of it in one sentence: an undercover policeman enjoys posing as a football hooligan so much that he becomes one and loses everything as a result.

Ambitious John is one of a four-man team sent to infiltrate a firm of thoroughly nasty football hooligans who follow fictional Shadwell (a real place in East London, overseas chums). They play at the Kennel, their nickname is The Dogs, and their watering hole of choice is The Rock, run by terrifying bat-wielding landlord Bob and his comely barmaid niece Lynda. John, swaggering and quick-witted, takes to this life of hard drinking, smashing up rival supporters' coaches, abusing police and (brilliantly filmed) surging, adrenalin-charged crowd violence like a duck to lager.

It is clear that some hole in his life - a perfectly nice life with a loving home, pretty policewoman girlfriend Marie and loyal, close work buddies Trevor, Eddie and Charlie - has been filled. Via acts of hooligan "bravery" that become increasingly deranged and suicidal, John wins the respect and affection of the hooligan crew's leaders, and Lynda as well. However, in getting close to the investigation's major targets, it has become horrifyingly clear to his colleagues that he has seriously lost his sense of self. It all goes very bad.

It would have been possible for this film to work as a "the face becomes the mask" psychological drama, or as a "cops and robbers: two sides of the same coin" thriller, or a satirical broadside at UK policing, or a comment on middle class ennui, or on the crisis of masculinity and sublimated violence in an age without a wide-reaching war.

It works on all these levels, but it wears these heavy themes lightly. This is a highly entertaining movie.

I.D. manages to pull off the slightly queasy trick of making being a football hooligan look like, well, look like a hell of a lot of fun; in the same way that the contemporaneous 'Trainspotting' showed that getting out of your gourd on industrial strength recreational drugs is a bloody good time, at least for some of the time. Davis captures the sheer thrill of being in a surging crowd, the tribal element and the rush of the violence with a boisterous boys-will-be-boys quality, rarely showing the horrible aftermath and destruction. This isn't to say that the film is endorsing or glorifying the violence; rather that we feel along with John the seductive power of the danger that anyone who has been at a match with an unpleasant atmosphere will recognise as being exciting, if not in a good way.

It is to the credit of Davis and a top-notch cast (Reece Dinsdale, Richard Graham, Sean Pertwee, Philip Glenister and others) that this film utterly lacks the puerile, voyeuristic, empty tone of most later hooligan films in the Danny Dyer mould.

In a film which is, by nature of its subject matter, a bit of a sausage-fest, Saskia Reeves as the bad girl barmaid and Claire Skinner as the blameless, spurned good girl do a lot with not much on the page. The ending packs a thoroughly unpleasant emotional wallop, and plenty of questions are left for the audience to ponder.

Along with The Firm, we rate this among the very best of films about (or at least, related to) football. Any others?

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

Alan has ghost-written a book for football legend Ronnie Matthews.

Read Johnny's book, 'The Meat Fix' here

Follow Alan on Twitter here

or Johnny here.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

would cry with laughter if adebayor ended up at united.

_____
The Deadline Day Gossip

R

emember when f365 were applauding this signing and hailed Norwich as the winners of the transfer window in 2013? Good times....

parsy12
Van Wolfswinkel loaned to Betis

I

m pretty sure van Gaal has created his own dialect.

parsy12
LVG: Herrera better at No.10

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Everton have completed the signing of Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon

Everton have completed the signing of Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon on a three-year contract.

United respond to Real Madrid claims over David de Gea

Manchester United have issued a response to claims from Real Madrid over the failed transfer of David de Gea.

Manchester United sign Newport County teenager Regan Poole

Manchester United have signed teenage defender Regan Poole from Sky Bet League 2 club Newport County.

Mail Box

Van Gaal Ripping The Soul Out Of United

Louis van Gaal is ripping the soul out of Manchester United. Also: Brendan Rodgers has lost his bottle, Arsenal are incompetent, and (plenty) more on David De Gea.

Anthony Martial: The French Danny Welbeck

Is Anthony Martial any better than Danny Welbeck? We have a massive Mailbox on Manchester United's transfer ridiculousness, and hypocritical Arsene Wenger.

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company