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|Green Street US title: Green Street Hooligans|
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Lexi Alexander|
scr Lexi Alexander, Dougie Brimson, Josh Shelov
with Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, Marc Warren, Leo Gregory, Rafe Spall, Henry Goodman, Geoff Bell, Kieran Bew, Ross McCall, Christopher Hehir, Terence Jay
release UK/US 9.Sep.05
05/UK Universal 1h49
Bring it on: The Green Street Elite taunt their rivals
Director-cowriter Alexander knows what she's talking about; this film is partly autobiographical. And this authenticity lends a sharp edge to what would otherwise be yet another gritty drama about British yob culture.
When aspiring journalist Matt (Wood) is thrown out of Harvard, he heads for London to visit his sister Shannon (Forlani) and her husband Steve (Warren). But before the first day is over, Matt has fallen in with Steve's brother Pete (Hunnam) and the Green Street Elite, a gang of football hooligans supporting West Ham. The problem is that, to these guys, the only thing worse than being a Yank is being a turncoat journalist. So Matt has a big secret.
Alexander builds an intense sense of camaraderie between members of the 'firm'--we understand why Matt's drawn in, and even how he embraces the violence. This insight makes the film both profoundly important and deeply provocative, as it seems to suggest that thuggish aggression is actually a noble posture. The gang's constant desire for fierce battles makes East London feel like a war zone. And Alexander shoots and edits with a striking sense of energy and urgency, filling the screen with attitude and bravado, abrasive characters and seriously horrific brawls.
The cast dives in forcefully, with real rage and passion. And yet the actors find the resonance inside it; this kind of loyalty might be deadly, but it's certainly not misplaced. Wood gives his most grown-up performance to date, while Hunnam continues his transition to the dark side (Nicholas Nickleby to Cold Mountain to this) as the fearsome Pete, who admittedly has a nice side in his day job as a school teacher.
The plot takes a couple of corny turns near the end--betrayal, revenge and discovery combine rather simplistically in order to ferret out a fierce climactic sequence. And the final message is more than a little mixed. But this is an important examination of one of society's biggest conundrums: Why do young men, out of a desperate need to feel both protected and protective, turn to violence? Or terrorism....
Jamie-Arsenal, England: "wot a movie, seen it, loved it. bein part of the passion all the time gets me buzzin an it is well good how the people watchin the movie get this energy as well. Diamond film. england's got the best fans, see u in germany lads!" (17.Sep.05)
Darryl, london: "when i saw it. it was like real life proper how it is wen rivals of dif footy teams get 2geva. gave me so much jokes quality. and im glad the millwall plebs got batterd! i recomend dat film and its better den football factory." (2.Oct.05)
Jason, Manchester: "Football Factory? Whats that all about. This film is the bollox it shows it how it is. Its what its all about respect. Stand your ground - Im forever blowin bubbles pretty bubbles in the air! Come on green street elite." (20.Oct.05)
Dominic, Alkmaar-Holland: "This Movie is one of the best i've ever seen , i really recommend it. nevertheless i like Football Factory better. But this one really gets high on my list!" (28.Oct.05)
Adam Walker, York "This film is the best film ever. It is so exciting. It will make you want to transfer to supporting Westham. I definately advise you watch." (2.Feb.06)
shelly, manchester: "what an amazing film, and it really makes u see what its really like out there in the world of football! i would highley recommend this film to everyone, and way to go green street elite, oh and me being a girl an all i did find the ending fairly sad and upsetting what can i say it moved me!" (16.Mar.06)
Dino - Dinamo Zagreb: "I am from Croatia. I was watching that film, and it is amazing. One of the best films I ever seen before." (23.Jun.06)
Amanda Cundiff, Summerville, S.C.: "I thought that this was by far a very great movie. I didn't think that it would be as great as it was, because I heard nothing about the movie on TV, etc. but I took a chance on it, cause the front look good. Everyone in my family didn't think it was going to be good, and when they watched it they were surpised. It was great, and the actors were awesome. I give it 2 thumbs up!" (26.Jun.06)
© 2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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