Awaydays (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner20/05/2009

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 105 mins

Disappointing British drama that fails to engage, thanks to leaden direction, an underwritten script and lacklustre performances from the two leads.

What's it all about?
Awaydays is a British coming-of-age drama, directed by Pat Holden and written by Kevin Sampson, who adapted the material from his own novel. It stars newcomer Nicky Bell as Carty, a young man with a dead-end job in 1979 Liverpool, who longs for the sense of belonging offered by local football hooligan gang The Pack, headed by ex-squaddie Godden (Stephen Graham).

However, when he meets sensitive hooligan Elvis (Liam Boyle) at an Echo & The Bunnymen gig, the two quickly become friends and Carty finally becomes a member of The Pack. However, he's oblivious to Elvis' ulterior motives in their friendship and it isn't long before tensions arise between them, as Carty rises through the ranks of The Pack due to increasingly violent behaviour.

The Good
Aided by a decent soundtrack, the film captures something of the atmosphere of its period setting, though Holden's attempt at suitably washed-out cinematography backfires a little because the film ends up looking drab and unappealing. Similarly, the fight scenes are nicely handled but they're the only time that the film really comes alive and, as a result, they're all too brief.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that it's impossible to care about either of the two leads, with both Bell and Boyle delivering lacklustre, frequently blank-faced performances. It's not entirely their fault, however, as the script is extremely frustrating throughout – for example, it makes Elvis' desires for Carty blindingly obvious yet fails to give them any dramatic weight.

In addition, the script fails to convey the appeal of joining The Pack in the first place; it's not as if Carty has a particularly unhappy family life, for example. On top of that, the film's most potentially dramatic moment takes place offscreen, while the usually excellent Graham is largely wasted as Godden.

Worth seeing?
In short, Awaydays is something of a disappointment, thanks to uninspiring direction, lacklustre performances and an underwritten, frequently frustrating script.

Film Trailer

Awaydays (18)
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Content updated: 25/04/2019 05:12

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