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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 26.92%
Average: 2.56%
Pretty Bad: 2.56%
Total Crap: 19.23%

3 reviews, 60 user ratings

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Green Street Hooligans
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by EricDSnider

"As you've always suspected, joining a gang IS the right choice."
4 stars

In trying to explain the "firms" -- what you and I would call "gangs" -- that support their favorite British soccer teams by beating up the fans of the opposition, a character in "Green Street Hooligans" cites the rivalry between his team, West Ham United, and the hated Millwall.

"Oh, like the Red Sex and the Yankees," says his American friend.

"No," replies the soccer fan. "More like the Israelis and the Palestinians."

I'm pretty sure these guys beat people up for calling it "soccer," so we'll go with "football" from here on out. I knew about football fans' legendary zeal for the sport, and of course news reports of socc-- er, football riots are always good for a laugh.

But I didn't know about the "firms" until now. We learn about them through the eyes of Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood), an American journalism student who, having been unfairly expelled from Harvard, heads to London to live with his expatriate sister Shannon (Claire Forlani) and her English husband Steve (Marc Warren). Steve's brother Pete (Charlie Hunnam), as it turns out, is a full-blooded soccer hooligan, leader of West Ham United's firm.

The firm is a group of two-fisted drinkers and fighters who sit in the local pub all night and represent a strong force at the actual football games. They don't mess with innocent bystanders -- that's what separates them from American "gangs," Pete says with some distaste -- but they do engage in brawls with opposing teams' firms whenever possible. Game day means having a few pints at the pub, singing the team song as you walk to the stadium, screaming yourself hoarse during the game, and then beating the crap out of like-minded blokes who spent the day the same way, only in support of a different team.

I don't need to tell you that this mindset is completely foreign to Matt; he's played by Elijah Wood, for crying out loud. But Pete likes the kid, and the rest of the Green Street Elite (that's the name of their firm) soon gets over his American-ness and takes him in as one of their own. All except Bover (Leo Gregory), that is, the scar-faced psycho in the group who doesn't trust anyone not born on his street, let alone in America.

As the timid and polite Matt is drawn into this world of ruffianism; as he gets into his first battle and throws his first punches; as he grows accustomed to waking up bloody and sore; as he does all this, his confidence improves and he finds himself happier than he's been in a long time. His absentee father (Henry Goodman), a globe-trotting journalist, urges his son to keep writing, but Matt doesn't care about reporting anymore. He loves his violent, fearsome new lifestyle.

We're told early on that football hooligans hate journalists. I don't know if this is true in real life or not; it seems random, like hating telephone operators or dentists. But in the movie, they hate 'em, and so Matt fibs about what he studied at Harvard. Inevitably, the truth comes out, and there is a schism within the ranks of the Green Street Elite.

It's hard not to be amused at how seriously everyone treats it. They react to the news that Matt is a journalist in the same way that villains react when they learn one of their own is an undercover cop, or the way Tony Soprano did when he found out Adriana was working with the Feds. All because he's ... A JOURNALIST! DUNH-DUNH-DUNNNNNNH!

The screenplay -- by director Lexi Alexander, Dougie Brimson and Josh Shelov -- has other pedestrian elements, too, notably in some of the dialogue. Matt's voice-over narration that begins the film includes the pretentious declaration "What I was about to learn no Ivy League school could teach me." Later, someone tells him he needs to go back home and he replies, "I don't know where my home is anymore." It's one of those sentiments that is easy to feel -- we've all felt displaced before -- but hard to express in a way that doesn't sound cheesy.

But the fight scenes are well-choreographed by Alexander, and cut together in a way that enhances their bloody, often graphic, details. It's a visceral, macho film, and if the message seems to be that violence IS the answer, it's hard to resist the grimy, eloquent way that the point is made.

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originally posted: 09/27/05 16:02:55
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Atlanta Film Festival For more in the 2005 Atlanta Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/08/12 Marty Suspenseful plot, but spotty acting and script. Great fight scenes and setting. 4 stars
2/28/11 RLan It's a ok film. More about the gang life than football. 3 stars
10/06/10 tiffanys Thank you for your web pages. See that you have updated it. Keep up the good work. [URL= 5 stars
11/03/08 Shaun Wallner Friiggin Awesome!! 5 stars
7/20/07 Old Bill Hunter So Mr R Anderson yose lot won th Battle of Britain, The Desert Campain and Burma ? Nah 4 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Oh yes, let's all kiss americas arse. You were very late both times, Ronnie anderson. 1 stars
12/03/06 jordan.b it was wicked and there was loads of blood my faviort is the mager 5 stars
11/15/06 Ronnie Anderson The British are so stupid. We saved your behinds twice already. 5 stars
11/08/06 haylz absolutly amazing best film iv ever seen! 5 stars
10/31/06 Micki best film eva made cr wait till green street 2 cums out n defo pete is fit as anyfin eva!!! 5 stars
10/24/06 Melissa Lang Best film ever pete is a fine thing 5 stars
10/22/06 William Goss Mildly melodramatic towards the end, but relatively engaging overall. 3 stars
10/18/06 Katrina VL I loved this movie so much. Good acting and yes, I cried in the end. 5 stars
10/11/06 Jordan LOVED IT. It was amazing, and I love the loyalty inside the firms. 5 stars
10/10/06 JM people grow up in many different ways; the ending could have/should have been different 5 stars
10/08/06 Hinano Top movies thats for sure. I need to go to the uk for a football match. 5 stars
8/25/06 Zidane Football is war! 5 stars
8/18/06 [tartan army] laughable tht americans think we wouldnt batter fuck out of any US boy comin to our matches 1 stars
8/14/06 Jack Excellent film, really makes you think 5 stars
8/11/06 jonjon the guy who wrote the review, has he ever been to a fight between 2 firms? his review sucks 4 stars
6/20/06 daniel gunn good over all very good acting abit sad at the end 5 stars
6/19/06 TreeTiger A semi-sentimental piece of SOCCER/hooligan bull shee-eit... 2 stars
5/04/06 Travis Butler One of my top 5 favrites for sure. 5 stars
4/17/06 Ismail Ali A very good movie(fantastic) 5 stars
4/10/06 Pedro PPaiva The guy that wrote this review is a huge asshole that doesn't understand football 5 stars
12/18/05 clare fuckin excellent!pete is so sexy and all 17 of my mates luv him,luv to meet him!!such a buz 5 stars
11/06/05 natasha loved it made me cry wen pete died 5 stars
10/26/05 iop Not so bad 4 stars
10/12/05 Dominic P yea its good im glad it captured what its really like down here 4 stars
10/07/05 Rikkert No US citizen understands the passion that British and European fans have for FOOTBALL! 5 stars
10/06/05 Suicide Squad ok film but if it was real frodo would have been killed by those brummy fans hahaha 4 stars
10/04/05 j i think this film was gd 10/10 n charlie hunnam looked HOT 5 stars
9/30/05 Jakub poop 1 stars
9/30/05 DW LUFC - Welcome to the beautiful game 5 stars
9/13/05 steven badass film 5 stars
9/12/05 Jan Well-acted, powerful movie which shows the ultimate futility of violence 4 stars
9/11/05 Z.Ulu-Brum ISF, your havin a laugh. 4 stars
9/09/05 WHUFC Congratulations You Just Meet The ISF 5 stars
9/07/05 Andy This film is terrible. Elijah Wood would get his teeth kicked out at an english game. 1 stars
8/26/05 Charlie H Scarily spot on. I know people who do this every weekend... 5 stars
8/12/05 Tom THis is what soccer is all about none of this soccer mom BS. STAND YOUR GOUND FOR YOU TEAM 5 stars
8/03/05 Kai This stuff is real! 5 stars
7/27/05 Dustin awesome movie, loved every minute 5 stars
7/15/05 Lara Great, fantastically gritty movie 5 stars
6/18/05 tomemk this is studpid !!! 1 stars
6/14/05 Dori Good Story + Strong Acting = Completely satisfying film 5 stars
6/07/05 tom it was useless 4 stars
4/21/05 hm It is wonderful. 5 stars
4/18/05 Chris Excellent Film 5 stars
4/18/05 Cass Pennant=real one I used by cunts ,watch The Firm or footiefactory 1 stars
4/18/05 steve stone This film sucks ..,it was refused a release in UK as NIL/Decline 1 stars
4/10/05 Kip Smedley Amazing film. 5 stars
3/28/05 Cass Pennant Excellent film. Very realistic. 5 stars
3/22/05 GJ Great film, great script. Bravo first time writer Dougie Brimson! 5 stars
3/22/05 Cheri AWESOME! Elijah & Charlie blew me away! 5 stars
3/21/05 bp Half an interesting look at a subculture, half a ridiculous, implausible melodrama 2 stars
3/19/05 Ned awful drivel 1 stars
3/18/05 Nadia Kotula By far the vest narrative film at the festival. Charlie Hunnam was remarkable in this film 5 stars
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  09-Sep-2005 (R)
  DVD: 13-Jun-2006



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