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
'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
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