Bored of the monotonous nine-to-five, Carty (Bell) wants a release. Leaving college to push pencils for his uncle, in an era of football violence Carty chooses to take his frustrations on the road and get involved with hooliganism. Slowly working his way into The Pack after meeting member Elvis at a gig, Carty finds his calling, at first on the fringes of the fights, but before too long, taking down rivals fans with ease.
The violence, however, is a front for the real story, and it’s the volatile relationship between Elvis and Carty that keeps the film moving, the pair develop a friendship that lasts outside football despite always feeling like it could crash and burn at any moment.
Keeping its indie ideals and steering clear of the route taken by recent film Green Street, Awaydays is an effortless watch, attempting to do more in the hooliganism sub-genre. The soundtrack is the perfect accompaniment, pulling tracks from the late 1970s setting.
Though it gives Awaydays a very believable feel, by adapting his own novel for the screen, Kevin Sampson personal touch makes the film feel a little like him just reminiscing about ‘the good old days.’ Awaydays further feels like it lacks a dominant story arc. The relationship between Carty and Elvis is hugely intriguing, but the film cuts off just when each starts to truly express their emotions. Sharing time on screen with the football element, neither is entirely satisfying and without hugely captivating characters, or shocking violence and edgy content, Awaydays is a little empty.
Awaydays comes close to being lumped in with every other British indie but the excellent production quality pull it through and director Pat Holden is left with another promising, if flawed, adventure.