Arrivederci Millwall

Arrivederci Millwall


Reviewed by: James Benefield

Forget The Football Factory or Green Street, Arrivederci Millwall was one of the original football hooligan movies. Based on a play by Nick Perry, it tells the story of a group of hooligans who are preparing to travel to Bilbao to see England play in the 1982 Spanish World Cup.

The lead character, Billy (Kevin O'Donohue) is a piece of work. He's a hard-drinking, violent nationalistic lout who releases his aggression at any opportunity – from injuring his girlfriend to confronting a drug dealer supplying one of his mates. He's got his own set of morals and values – and he's as happy in a football match starting a fight, as he is in church taking holy communion. His friends aren't much more likeable.

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So, Arrivederci Millwall is not a football movie, it's a movie about a group of people who happen to follow football. Yet, it's a pretty bleak, downbeat affair. Although the motives of the gang are shown to be relatively complex (from nationalism to bereavement, and even just caused by an excess of testosterone) we are never really asked to like these characters – only to, occasionally, empathise with them. It's a moral choice, perhaps, by Nick Perry but it's also one that makes the film a little less interesting.

When the group finally arrive in Spain, in the piece's final 20 minutes, the ending has become an inevitability and despite the sunny weather and heat on screen the tone is incredibly sour and difficult. This is a provocative, well-acted piece which situates its central issue of hooliganism well, but it fails to go that extra mile and make us think or feel something really profound.

Reviewed on: 27 Mar 2011
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A group of hooligans get ready to go to the 1982 world cup.
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Director: Charles McDougall

Writer: Nick Perry

Starring: Kevin O'Donohue, David Barrass and Anthony Best

Year: 1990

Runtime: 50 minutes

Country: UK


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If you like this, try:

The Football Factory
Green Street