Green Street

Green Street


Reviewed by: Kotleta

Every Monday morning for 14 years my brother was beaten up. The reason? In a school of 700 Man U and Liverpool fans, he was the only West Ham supporter. Every Saturday the Hammers got hammered so, as their sole representative, he did too. Perhaps if he'd seen Green Street, he'd have been inspired to fight back.

Matt (Elijah Wood) is an award-winning journalism major at Harvard, who gets screwed over by his WASP roommate and expelled, so runs away to London to visit his sister Shannon (Claire Forlani). She has married into cockney royalty and acquired some charming in-laws - Stevie Dunham, a wide boy stockbroker, and his brother Pete. With nothing better to do, Matt slips into a Fight Club-esque world of lager-fuelled violence with the Green Street Elite - West Ham's very own "firm" of hardcore football hooligans. Pete's the leader of this gang of loveable ruffians and Matt feels proud when he earns his own nickname - The Yank (he would have been less pleased if he had a better grasp of rhyming slang). He learns the value of loyalty, of standing by your mates, even when it seems wiser to run away very fast, but when loyalties are tested it's no longer just a game. Mucho bloodshed ensues.

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Although there's mercifully little football in this, there's also minimal emotional depth. German director Lexi Alexander (yes - a WOMAN!) is a former kickboxing champion and the fight scenes have an intoxicating visual impact, but man cannot live on beer and bloodshed alone.

For an aspiring journo, Matt writes a very dull diary and is so lacking in self-awareness that he fails to recognise his own culpability in the tragic events that unfold. The Dunhams are buggered, but it's okay because Matt has learnt an important lesson. I would have happily given him a good kicking myself.

Charlie Hunnam makes a distractingly girly thug, as Pete. He walks the walk of Liam Gallagher but talks the talk of Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Odd. On the other hand, Marc Warren is brilliant in the supporting role of Stevie.

It's nice to end on a positive note and this is a refreshingly non-tabloid depiction of hooliganism. They may be aggressive, badly dressed and obsessed with primitive morality, but they also hold down proper jobs and use words of more than two syllables.

Check it out if you think you're hard enough.

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2005
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A Yank comes to West Ham and learns how to be a hooligan.
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Keith Hennessey Brown ***

Director: Lexi Alexander

Writer: Lexi Alexander, Dougie Brimson, Josh Shelov

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

Year: 2005

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US/UK


EIFF 2005

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