Parents' Guide to


By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Violence, sex, drugs, and drinking in soccer hooligan drama.

Movie NR 2020 108 minutes
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This movie is a fascinating glimpse into a violent but tight-knit gang of soccer hooligans in Naples. Centered on Sandro, a lifer of the "Apaches" who's pushing 50 and growing increasingly weary of the lifestyle, Ultras does an excellent job of showing how leaving a gang or subculture isn't easy, especially when it's the only life Sandro has known, his fellow aging peers are content to stay and live on their fond recollections of past violent altercations, and old habits die hard. In Angelo, a teen newbie to the gang, Sandro sees a bit of himself, and doesn't want the same thing to happen to Angelo that happened to Angelo's older brother, who was killed during a riot. The cycle of life of this subculture, and its appeal to working-class males, walks the razor-thin line between the romantic appeal and the increasingly pathetic outcome as the years pile up.

There are moments when the movie falls short, when it slips into a kind of lazy sensationalism. For instance, to take his mind off of current romantic difficulties, Sandro snorts a line of cocaine, pops Molly, and then dances to techno. Like the gratuitous sex scenes, it does nothing to move the story or tell us anything about Sandro we don't already know. And that feeling that we're not learning anything new is the biggest problem with Ultras. It's a "gang movie," and while the movie does a fantastic job of capturing the details and nuances in the culture of this particular gang, it isn't really saying anything new.

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