Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, Marc Warren, Leo Gregory, Henry Goodman, Geoff Bell and Rafe Spall

Lexi Alexander

Running Time:
109 mins

Out to buy on DVD 28/12/05

"I'm forever blowing bubbles"

After been wrongfully thrown out of Harvard University, Matt Buckner (Wood) heads to London to stay with his sister Shannon (Forlani). When he gets there he meets Pete Dunham (Hunnam), Shannon's brother-in-law who introduces him to football and his beloved West Ham United but when he gets involved with Pete he also get involved with his firm the Green Street Elite (GSE). Making a name for themselves, as the most feared set of supporters in football, Matt becomes embroiled in their world and soon becomes part of the firm.

Football hooligans have always been a blight on the beautiful game and any movie about them always seems to glorify the violence but can 'Green Street' be any different?

Unlike 'Football Factory' the movie tries to explain the reasons behind the organised violence that drives the 'firms' that associate themselves with the football clubs. Now we see that this is England's equivalent of the turf wars between the US gangs but they use their fists instead of guns. It is all about respect and their reputation amongst the firms, as these minorities of so called football fans battle amongst themselves after or before each game. The problem is that, as with 'Football Factory' the reason for the violence is never explained other than that the thugs involved just love a fight.

The violence in the movie is graphic and realistic but the reactions of the participants are not. After most of the beatings, the boys just continue on with their lives with no real injuries other than a few cuts and bruises. This is were the movie falls down and slightly glorifies the violence, showing that you can take a beating and recover far too quickly. There are no consequences here, neither physically nor mentally and the police don't seem to get involved much either.

Trying to move away from his usual goody persona, Elijah Wood gives his all as Matt Buckner but he doesn't quite have the look to be involved in the hooligan aspects of the film. While he tries extremely hard to be the Yank amongst the Yobs but his pretty boy looks don't really look the part, especially when he is involved with the fighting. Much more believable is the performance of Charlie Hunnam as GSE leader Pete Dunham. He plays the thug well but the script lets him down because the character never really explains what he gets out of organising and participating in the fighting but he is probably the rounded character in the piece.

Supporting the two main players are some typical clichéd performances from the other members of the cast. Leo Gregory as Bover, Rafe Spall as Swill and Geoff Bell as Millwall firm leader Tommy Hatcher are your stereotypical thug types with not a single brain cell between them as they only live for the fight. The beautiful Claire Forlani plays a clichéd dumb woman who tries to save the men in her live from the inevitable brawl at the end, only to put herself in danger. Marc Warren plays Pete's brother Steve who wants both him and Matt to leave the hooligan life style alone but has a secret to hide.

'Green Street' glorifies hooligan violence and gives ordinary, passionate football fans a bad name. It does try and explain the reasons behind the violence but it doesn't go far enough for you to feel anything for the characters, leaving you to think that they are just mindless thugs who use football as an excuse to have a fight. Instead of an insight into the hooligan mentality, we have an average insight into how these idiots bring the beautiful game into disrepute.

'From Hobbit To Hooligan': an interview with Elijah Wood
'Stand Your Ground': a look at the violence of Green Street
'A Clear Direction': director Lexi Alexander talks about her inspiration
'The Making Of' featurette
'One Blood' music video UK & US trailers

Football Factory

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