On the Wirral in the grim early years of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership, the opportunities for thrill-seeking young men looking to escape 9 to 5 drudgery are what they’ve always been: sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, fashion, football and fighting. Paul Carty (Nicky Bell) goes to the game, chases skirt, pores over records in the racks at Probe, and gets to see Echo and the Bunnymen, but his fraught family life and dull job leave him feeling bereft and he is soon drawn to The Pack, a faction of football hooligans who own the terraces.
Endearing himself to The Pack’s General, John Godden (Stephen Graham), Carty throws himself into a world of boozy train journeys, Stanley knives and savage violence. Skillfully directed by Pat Holden, with a script adapted by Kevin Sampson from his own cult novel, Awaydays is an exuberant thrill, an outstanding rites of passage movie with intelligence and depth that is superior to any recent film dealing with hooliganism.
Michael Hayden, London Film Festival Programme
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Nicky Bell, Liam Boyle,Stephen Graham