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Green Street Hooligans

A movie directed by Lexi Alexander

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And We Thought American Football Fans Were Intense

  • Oct 18, 2009
  • by
Pros: An exciting and engaging film...

Cons: ...a bit predictable, miscasting.

The Bottom Line: Green Street Hooligans is a good movie.  If violence bothers you, you might want to pass; otherwise, sit down and enjoy an interesting and engaging film.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

It's sometimes easy to forget just how vast the cultural differences are between America and Europe.  Of course, there's the accents, and the cuisine, but some aspects are often overlooked or unknown.  Green Street Hooligans takes a raw look at the undercover football (soccer) firms in England- which are drastically different from even the most intense sports fans in America.

The movie begins with Harvard Journalism major, Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood), whom gets wrongfully accused of possessing cocaine, which actually belongs to his roommate.  With no other options, Matt flies to London, England to stay with his older sister, Shannon (Claire Forlani) and her husband, Steve (Marc Warren).  On his very first day in town, Matt is introduced to Steve's younger brother, Pete (Charlie Hunnam), an avid football fan.  Shortly into the movie we discover that Pete is not just a fan of football- he is a member of a "firm"- an organized gang of fans whom basically support their team by provoking the opposing teams' fans into fights after matches.

Though it starts as an innocent fascination, Matt soon finds himself completely enveloped in Pete's world.  He gets accepted into their firm as the novelty "yank", and together, with the rest of the guys, fights against various other firms to defend their team's (West Ham United) honor.  Matt's association with the firm causes turmoil between he and his sister, and within himself- after all, what does a Harvard student know about street fighting and gangs?  As Matt falls deeper and deeper into the Green Street Elite, we're left wondering if he's in too deep- though there's really no chance to turn back.

For the most part, I found Green Street Hooligans to be a sturdy film.  Firms are a true reality in England; the firm in this movie, in particular, is based on one of West Ham's most notorious firms, Inter City Firm.   Writer and director, Lexi Alexander, presents the movie in an engaging, fast-paced, stylish manner, leaving the viewer completely captivated with each moment that passes.

The violence in the film has been criticized frequently, mostly due to the fact that it's somewhat exaggerated in comparison to the real life firms.  Though a bit gratuitous at times, I never found the violence to be distracting from the story line, and in fact, found that it furthered and helped develop the plot.

Elijah Wood being cast as the lead role, however, made less sense to me.  Though I am a fan of Wood's acting in the film, it's still hard to believe him as the character he's playing.  He's much more believable at the start of the film as the naïve and timid Harvard undergrad, but towards the end of the movie, you really have to squint at the screen in order to buy that  his character has evolved into a hard-edged thug.  Meanwhile, Charlie Hunnam steals the show as the loud, Cockney, leader of the firm.  He plays the role perfectly- at all times completely tough and threatening, but also warm-hearted and kind.  The depth and complexity of his character makes him clearly stand out in the film.  Also notable is Marc Warren, whose character sees a surprising and enthralling twist towards the end of the movie. Warren plays the role expertly, with exquisite emotion.

Green Street Hooligans is an interesting and exciting (though, perhaps, slightly exaggerated) look at the culture of England football fans.  The plot does become fairly predictable, especially towards the movie's end, though that still does not distract from the overall strength of the movie.  Through the violence, there's a nicely developed story and endearing characters- making the film a thrilling combination of suspense and drama.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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More Green Street Hooligans (2006 m... reviews
Quick Tip by . September 30, 2009
"Stop Calling It Bloody Soccer!! It's Football Day lets have some fun!!" Great movie, in my top 10!
review by . August 12, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS is much easier on the psyche to watch in the home DVD version than in the theater release. It is a story so packed with violence that the underlying subplots get lost until the film is reduced to the size of a television screen. Lexi Alexander wrote (with Dougie Brimson and Joshua Shelov) and directed this tense story about the strange cults ('firms') of grown men who align with the various soccer/football teams in London, accompanying the games with intense fighting in the …
review by . August 01, 2006
This is one strong and compelling film that's probably been hidden from a lot of viewers and lucky enough I wasn't one of them. I also thought it was very interesting to learn about the organization of "The Firms," I never knew such a thing existed either. Before I seen this film I thought of Hooliganism as a bunch of young drunken idiots, who like to pick fights, etc...... but that clearly wasn't the case. As an American, I struggled a bit with the heavy British accents but I pick up on it really …
review by . July 17, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Violence, if it is your thing.      Cons: Violence, if it isn't your thing.      The Bottom Line: Watch Fight Club; watch A Clockwork Orange, Both are much better and at least original.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals everything about the movie''s plot.      Green Street Hooligans has all of the worst parts of Fight Club without any of its dark humor and clever insights into the mind of a man …
About the reviewer
Brittany Brown ()
Ranked #270
My name is Brittany. I'm 23 years old. I love life, and sometimes, life loves me, too.
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GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS: In 1988, British director Alan Clarke set a high benchmark for movies about soccer hooliganism with a brutal, unflinching drama called THE FIRM. Few dared follow in Clarke's estimable footsteps. But filmmaker Lexi Alexander, who joined a gang of soccer thugs during her childhood in Germany, seems well placed to be the director of GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS, which returns to the controversial subject matter some 17 years after Clarke's film. Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood) is a student who travels to London after getting kicked out of Harvard. Ostensibly there to visit his sister, Matt instead forms an unlikely bond with her husband's brother, Pete Dunham (Charlie Hunnam), who takes him to a soccer match to see his team, West Ham. At the game, the inevitable happens, and Matt's initial trepidation at the violence swelling around him soon turns into a pulse-racing, visceral thrill. Suddenly finding a taste for the hooligan life, Matt joins Pete's "firm," the Green Street Elite, leading to fu...
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Director: Lexi Alexander
Genre: Drama
Release Date: September 9, 2005
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: June 13, 2006
Runtime: 1hr 46min
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