Ultras

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Ultras Movie Poster Image
Violence, sex, drugs, and drinking in soccer hooligan drama.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 108 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

 Movie is centered on violent lifestyles of soccer hooligans in Naples. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

While lead character is trying to change his ways after a lifetime spent in serious involvement with a club of soccer hooligans, he's shown getting into fights, abusing drugs and alcohol. 

Violence

One character is violently beaten, punched in the face repeatedly until bloody. Footage of soccer riots at stadiums. Ultras sneak into opposing side's section of stadium, throw smoke bombs, get bottles thrown at them in return. Police beat one of the characters with billy clubs. Character shot and killed. 

Sex

Teen character shown having sex with his girlfriend in bed. Lead character shown having sex with girlfriend in bed. Brief nudity: female breast, buttocks. Oral sex implied in one scene. Lead teen character's girlfriend asks him if he wants to "feel me up." Teens ogle woman on an Instagram-esque social media platform; when discussing one particular woman, they say that the "B" in her last name stands for an oral sex term. 

Language

Frequent profanity, including "f--k" used several times. "S--t," "a--hole," "piss," "pissed," "d--k," "slut." Homophobic slur used. Middle finger gesture. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Binge drinking. Cocaine use. Lead character takes Ecstasy in a nightclub. Marijuana smoking. Cigarette smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ultras is a 2020 Italian drama in which an aging leader of a soccer hooligan gang tries to stop a teen from following in his footsteps. There are some moments of soccer hooligan violence, including footage of soccer riots at stadiums and a scene in which the gang sneaks over to the opposing side's section of the stadium and throws smoke bombs at them, and then is pelted with bottles. One of the characters is shown getting brutally beaten, punched in the face repeatedly until bloody. A character is shot and killed off-screen. Police beat one of the characters with a billy club. Characters, including a teen, are shown having sex; there's brief female nudity. Oral sex is implied in one scene. Viewers see cocaine and Ecstasy use in a nightclub, as well as binge drinking. Frequent profanity includes "f--k" and a homophobic slur.

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What's the story?

In ULTRAS, Sandro is a legend and a leader in the Apaches, a violent gang of soccer hooligans in Naples. Because of the violence, he's banned from going to the stadium and must report to the police station during every game to prove that he's not causing trouble. While his contemporaries in the gang are as gung-ho as ever, Sandro has grown weary of the life, as he's now pushing 50 and there's a younger crew eager to take over. Sandro is also trying to take on a mentor role with his teen neighbor Angelo, who is beginning to become active in the gang, despite his older brother's death during a riot -- a death Sandro feels partly responsible for. His sense of having outgrown the Apaches is further heightened when Sandro meets and starts dating a woman named Terry, and as their relationship evolves beyond a one-night stand, Sandro starts to envision a different future. However, he finds that escape isn't easy, especially after the younger crew, against the explicit orders of Sandro, go to Rome to riot and wreak havoc during a championship match. Realizing the trouble that Angelo and the others are about to get into, Sandro must go to Rome to put a stop to this. 

Is it any good?

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. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in movies. Does Ultras glorify soccer hooligans and their violent lifestyles, or is it trying to convey a realistic sense of soccer hooligan culture? Why?

  • Does the movie glorify drug and alcohol use, or is the use by these characters intended to realistically convey the lives of the "Ultras"?

  • What are some other examples of movies or television shows that offer a glimpse into a subculture? 

Movie details

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