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Green Street Hooligans

A movie directed by Lexi Alexander

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It's all fun and games til someone loses an eye

  • Jul 17, 2006
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 moving from wimp to . . . something other than a wimp.

Matt (Elijah Wood), journalism major, is expelled from Harvard because he takes the fall for cocaine possession that belongs to his roommate (the scion of one of the storied New England families). Matt flies to London to visit his sister. His sister’s brother-in-law, Pete (Charlie Hunnam) is what we in the States call a soccer hooligan. The two strike up a fast friendship that grows into a deep friendship when they are involved in a fight with fans of a rival soccer team. In a Fight Club manner the relationship between Matt and Pete and the rest of Pete’s mates (who make up a firm called the Green Street Elite) deepens with each fight they have. One member, Bovver (Leo Gregory), doesn’t like or trust Matt, so when he finds out that Matt might be a ‘journo’ (hooliganese for journalist), he becomes a turncoat. The resulting violence leaves one man in the hospital from a jugular stab in the neck with a broken bottle and one man dead—I won’t name names in case you want to watch this. The whole thing gives Matt the guts to go back to Boston and confront his former roommate.

If the film can be trusted, each professional football club in Britain (or at least England, we must remember that for the purposes of FIFA Britain is actually 2 or 3 ‘countries,’ I don’t remember which) has what they call a firm—basically a gang. The men paid not to touch a ball with their hands win or loose a game. Before and/or after the game a group of volunteers who all have fight songs go around either threatening to do some ultra-violence or actually perform ultra-violence, apparently using their hands to take out the frustration their supported team have because they can’t use theirs. What fun.

At least in the film, these firms have rules of territory, loyalty, and even who can be involved and who is off limits. Given that, there is a moral concept to the film. The problem with this approach is that the film doesn’t produce a moral for the story, or it does, but the moral is backwards from what would ordinarily be expected. The moral wasn’t that fighting is bad and all that, but that if you want to engage in violence, make sure that you follow some basic jungle rules, other than that the gloves were never on in the first place.

If you like violence, this is the movie for you. Every fight ends in many bleeding from the face. The big brou-ha-ha has as much blood as a gore movie, but it is all far more realistic. If this sort of violence turns your stomach, avoid it. You aren’t missing anything anyway. The fights in Fight Club were all short and not the point of the movie despite the title. In Green Street Hooligans the fights are the main thing, that a story of some kind is attached to them is just tangential. This is a chance for a couple of big screen pretty boys to get smashed up while pretending to be hooligans.

The performances were ok, but, let’s face it, playing that kind of neverland lost boy isn’t a stretch for any actor; if anyone had been particularly bad, that that is a true mark of a hack actor. The exception to this is Mr. Hunnam. Charlie Hunnam seemed to be as comfortable with his East End accent as I would and I have a great ear for accents. It never came off, period. It sounded like a public school boy with the right tie trying to sound like he packed veggies down market to see how the other half lives. Since Jamie Bell can do that accent (and others), and is also pretty, why not use him? Cockney isn’t done just by dropping h’s and making all i’s long and round; there is a cadence to it that sings despite all of the glottal stops and Mr. Hunnam was tone-deaf to it.

The film work was good but wasted. The story is so weak here that all attempts at being artful would just be either a form of cinematic masturbation or practice for a better film.


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More Green Street Hooligans (2006 m... reviews
review by . October 18, 2009
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.  …
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 …
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About this movie


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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