To paraphrase most of this film's dreadful dialogue, "F***ing what a f***ing load f***ing of f***ing sh*t f***ing!"
"i.d." is an attempt to delve deep into the mind of football hooligans. It's centred around Shadwell Town FC (nicknamed "The Dogs", they play at
"The Kennel" - law-abiding Millwall fans, of which there are many, must be absolutely sick of that kind of portrayal by now) and an
undercover police operation to infiltrate their hooligan element. And I sat through it so that you don't have to...
There are flaws galore. For a start, it appears that the film is entirely unable to make up its mind as to which era it is
set in. A stlg 3.50 entrance fee for a large open terrace at one game, along with a chorus of "You're gonna get your f***ing 'eads kicked in", would
tend to suggest the by-gone golden age of hooliganism - in which case, it's difficult to see what the point of
the exercise is.
And yet everything else points to the modern day - in which case, most of this is just
laughable, fairy-tale nonsense. There's very little violence within grounds these days. And what little
there is certainly doesn't involve taking the home end before running down the touchline to your own fans to be held aloft
like a conquering hero. This is football hooliganism as national bogeyman and, despite the film's
eagerness to come across as radical cinema, it's reactionary as hell. ITV-style sensationalism at its ugly worst, I'm afraid.
I could go on - I won't because the inaccuracies are just a minor irritation. The main problem is that the
whole thing's a completely tedious shambles. Its primary point - drawing parallels between one of the undercover
policemen and the hooligans he's supposed to be gathering intelligence on - is clumsy and ill-conceived. It doesn't help that
we see no more than five minutes of the character prior to his assignment to Shadwell - it's not at all clear
whether these feelings of anger and hatred are supposed to have been lurking inside all along or have just materialised
on the terraces. That the change of character forming the central thread appears to be based entirely on
an increase in the protaganist's swearing and the introduction of a rather severe Cockney accent doesn't make it
any more convincing. He does get to shout "F***ing shut it!" a couple of times, though.
It's crap, basically. And boring crap at that. There's one reward for those of you caffeine-addled enough to stay awake till the credits - an ending so
stupefyingly ludicrous that you'll choke on your popcorn. I won't spoil it for you.
Not the best film I've ever seen, then. Not even the best film I saw over the weekend, as it happens - that honour goes to Luc Besson's "Leon",
a stylish, probing thriller with rounded, contradictory characters. "i.d." is just dusty, grey-suited conservatism.
Throw this one to the dogs!
A four man team is requested by Scotland Yard to infiltrate the Shadwell
supporters to root out the hard-core troublemakers that are suspected to
be members of a gang that organise nationwide fights.
The boys quickly
identify 'The Rock' as the local for supporters and set about making
themselves known: their cover is that they are painters and decorators
working in the vicinity. They're soon on the train to an away game
shouting abuse at anything that moves and quickly we find that the main
character (can't remember his name: Nick?) (Neither can I - Ed) is turning to the Dark Side
and is enjoying being a hooligan: early in the film he drives home
totally pissed - as you would being a undercover cop?! We get to know
the main characters in the hard-core hooligan element: they seem like
nice chaps, carrying razors, darts, knives, knuckle-dusters, etc. and in
this film they get plenty of chances to use them.
Meanwhile, away from
the football, there is enough predictable tension between the undercover
coppers to keep us vaguely interested and at home, their private lives
are gradually falling apart: take the ugly scene where Nick (?) forces
himself upon his girlfriend - didn't she get the message then and clear
off? The language, violence and clichés become more frequent as the
film progresses, culminating in lovely scene where one of the gang gets
a dart in the head. Eventually Nick (?) learns who is 'the organiser' at
The Rock (I think most people would have clocked him), but in true
cinematic style, the plug is pulled on the operation.
The film then ties
up all the loose ends in about 10 minutes before leaving the screen with
a truly embarrassing scene where Nick (?) tries to make up with his
girlfriend (and not to mention the incredulous ending!).
I read the I.D. review on the BSaD page before I saw this film and
couldn't believe that the film could be that bad. Believe me, it is.
There were occasions when I was cringing behind the sofa: I can't
believe how football fans were portrayed, even if it was a fictional
story: surely hooliganism never reached this level?.
glorification in its truest form. Am I right in saying that the non-
football public will associate the majority of football fans with the
type of behaviour seen in I.D.? This film was billed as 'hard-hitting'.
It is, but it delivers one right in the nuts to the average football
If you haven't seen it, you must, only to see what I (and others) are