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Green Street Hooligans
Green Street Hooligans
Actors: Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, David Alexander, Oliver Allison
Director: Lexi Alexander
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2006     1hr 49min

A wrongfully expelled Harvard undergrad moves to London, where he is introduced to the violent underworld of soccer hooliganism. DVD Features: — Documentary:The Making of Hooligans — Music Video:"One Blood" Music Video by Te...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, David Alexander, Oliver Allison
Director: Lexi Alexander
Creators: Lexi Alexander, Alexander Buono, Bill Allan, Deborah Del Prete, Donald Zuckerman, Dougie Brimson, Josh Shelov
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Crime, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/13/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 49min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

A Yank Feels the Lure of Soccer Hooliganism.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 06/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Green Street Hooligans" sets a family drama and coming-of-age tale in the world of football (soccer) hooliganism. Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood) was a promising journalism student before he was expelled from Harvard University over his roommate's cocaine stash. Suddenly aimless, Matt wanders to London to visit his sister Shannon (Claire Forlani) and her British husband Steve (Marc Warren). When Matt tags along to a soccer game with Steve's brother Pete (Charlie Hunnam), he finds that there is a lot more to soccer culture than the game on the field. Pete is a member of a football firm or gang called the Green Street Elite (GSE). Firms are organizations of fanatic fans who battle other firms for reputation and dominance -by beating the crap out of each other. Matt is attracted to the high energy, danger, and physicality of the GSE and embraces the lifestyle. But eventually word gets around that he might be a journalist - and hooligans hate coppers and journalists.

I couldn't say how accurately "Green Street Hooligans" represents the dynamics of football firms or the relationships of their members. But the film does provide a window into a subculture that is common in the UK and South America, where soccer reigns supreme, but which Americans may never have heard of. Contrary to the American cocept of gangsters, soccer hooligans are neither Mafioso nor errant youth. They are grown, middle-class men who function perfectly well in normal jobs. But outside of work and domestic obligations, they are completely lawless. They happily adopt a brutality that could leave them dead or maimed in the blink of an eye. "Green Street Hooligans" requires some suspension of disbelief to accept more mundane behavior. Would Steve really send his naïve Yank brother-in-law to a soccer game with his estranged hooligan brother? No. That kind of illogic is common in this film. But the culture of hooliganism, the allure of their violence, is at the same time stupid and fascinating.

The DVD (Warner 2006): "The Making of Hooligans" (6 min) is not about making the movie. It is a series of interviews with actors Elijah Wood, Claire Forlani, Charlie Hunnam, director Lexi Alexander and producer Deborah Del Prete which discuss the characters and the phenomenon of football firms. There is a music video for the song "One Blood" by Terence Jay, which sounds uncannily like the Dire Straits' song "Brother in Arms". Terence Jay also acts in the movie. He plays Matt's elite WASP Harvard roommate, the cokehead. Subtitles for the film are available in English, French, and Spanish."
Raw and Riveting
J. Whitney | New York | 02/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although I do not follow the game of football (do not call it soccer) I was drawn to this movie because I like Charlie Hunnam and he did not disappoint in the role of Pete the leader of a group of football fanatics (or hooligans) who enjoy bashing heads and maiming the followers of the opposing teams. The movie starts out with Elijah Woods character (Matt) getting booted out of Harvard due to the actions of his roommate (your typical priviliged jerk) so he heads over to London to visit his sister who is married to Pete's brother Stephen. At first Pete and Matt do not hit it off since Matt is a Yank and rather conservative. A few pints later with the mates and Matt becomes a member of the hooligans. There are quite a few fight scenes, lots of blood, but the movie keeps you on edge throughout and the ending is both tragic yet justice is served."
Violent and Compelling Look at the London Underworld
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 07/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Of everything written about this small film starring Elijah Wood and Charlie Hunnam, the most interesting is to see the lukewarm reactions from the UK side, which found the film is too violent, and dismissed it as implausible. And it must be admitted that they are complaining with some good reasons.

For the film is really violent, and Elijah Wood may be the least plausible choice for making a film about the hooligans, almost fanatic supporters of football team in England. Elijah Wood plays Matt, a Harvard college undergraduate student wrongly expelled because of his irresponsible roommate. Matt flies to the home of his married sister (Clair Forlani), and there meets his brother-in-law Pete (Charlie Hannam), devoted leader of the Green Street Elite, bunch of the hooligans supporting West Ham United.

The set-up part is contrived, but you should wait a while. Soon the film's story leads us to its gist, about how Matt (estranged from his father now in Kabul) finds his new existence in this underworld of the `Firm' and its hooliganism. The film does not fail to show the complexity of the characters. The members of the `Firm' have jobs to do when there is not a game (believe me nor not, one of them is an airplane pilot by profession), and not exactly bad guys at all, but when it comes to football games and the rivalry between the Firms, they turn fierce and unstoppable street fighters who have their own rules to follow. You cannot say the script is an in-depth study of hooligans, but still good enough to make us care its characters.

Besides its violent scenes, the criticism we hear against `Green Street Hooligans' is about its cast, Elijah Wood in particular. Yes, the star of blockbuster hit `Lord of the Rings.' Throughout `GSH' Elijah Wood never looks like a hooligan. For all Matt's repeated bloody fights, he still looks a visitor or outsider in the Green Street Elite, but that is the point of the film because he is there to provide the viewpoint from an outsider. And some UK reviewers complained about the accent of Charlie Hunnam. I don't know because I do not have much linguistic knowledge, but to me his acting as charismatic Pete looked very good (though Leo Gregory as discontented GSE member is more impressive, as you will see).

More serious problem with `Green Street Hooligans' is its incredible and too convenient coincidences in the story, which makes the whole film too melodramatic. Matt happens to have done two (or more) things, which results in a big problem. The far-fetched situation looks totally out of place among the gritty descriptions of hooliganism, and Claire Forlani's character always remains a typical lady-in-distress image, which is another cliché in the filmmaking. German-born director Lexi Alexander sticks to the realistic approach to the street fight sequences (with blood and dirty words), but she somehow is content with the autopilot direction when showing several episodes that are not directly related to hooligans.

But I was intrigued with the main story about the friendship between males, or kind of combat camaraderie depicted in `Green Street Hooligans.' I know this is not the only film about hooliganism - for example, `The Football Factory' and `The Firm' (starring Gary Oldman, not Tom Cruise) - but `Green Street Hooligans' is worth a look even though you don't know football for its strong and compelling main story."
Elijah Wood Is Powerful in This Limited Edition Film
Edward C. Patterson | Allentown, PA | 04/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Touted in the United States as the Film Hollywood doesn't want you to see, Green Street Hooligans crept into six theaters on September 9th and posted a weekend gross of $48,000, that is about $7,000 per site, which Hollywood would not have believed, considering the top grosser of the previous week (on 3,000 screens), eked out a per site gross of $6,000. So, why is this new Elijah Wood film being released by its makers and promoted by Wood's fans. Maybe because the Hollywood machine has misunderstood the film, thinking it's a violent gang picture about the underground of a British sport starring a cute furry Hobbit. My, my-have they seen it? Have they bothered to attend a Film Festival where it garnered rave reviews and awards? Well, the cats out of the bag and this riveting, taut, well-performed film has made a mighty entrance, blasting to hell the finite obscurity of Hollywood moguls.

Simply premised, a Harvard drop-out (expelled) visits his sister in London has a chance encounter with an in-law who takes him under his wing and introduces him to organized British hooliganism, the Firms-in this case the Green Street Elite, wrapped around the fanaticism of Football (that sport we call in the states Society Football; or SOCCER). But the film is not about Football or the violence attached to the Firms. It's deeply entrenched in primal man-the tribal man of the village. Margaret Mead would be quite at home (rest her soul) observing the rival firms standing and riling each other, much like Neanderthals at a Mammoth hunt. The script wanders a bit on a thin plot, but allows the message to be clear. When you share a central bond with villagers and stand your ground, you have invested your soul in the collective reputation of the tribe. Outsiders, who lack this, are mere wimps.

Elijah Wood as the Yank, Matt Buckner is superb as he grows a pair of balls over the length of the film. If you don't mind seeing everyone's favorite Hobbit have the stuffing beaten out of him, and scrapping like the Dickens and enjoying the violence incrementally, you'll be okay. The acting job is sterling and filled with the steel that overtakes the character. His mentor, Pete, played by Charlie Hunnam, rushes like a river through the work, giving it buoyancy. Hunnam's cockney cleverness and leadership keeps the film alive and crisp, never a boring moment. In fact, the violence, which is not gratuitous, but organic to the work, draws you in to take a good look. This is the real stuff and we want to see Elijah Wood slam and get slammed, and Charlie Hunnam lead the tribe to victory. Of course, there are villains and naturally, a moral twist as the simple plot and theme gets aced by human failures, which drains all the nobility from the initial premise.

Excellent performances are delivered by Leo Gregory who plays Bovver, the fly in the Firm's ointment; and Geoff Bell and Terrence Jay, the bad guys, each on opposite sides of the pond draw out our natural tendancy to hiss on cue. Claire Forlani as Matt's sister delivers a credible performance, trying to match Elijah Wood with Buckner family nuances. Lexi Alexander, in her first directorial credit, does a splendid job handling angle and shot, many of which are iconic and deliver memorable punches, much like Elijah's Wood facial essays, which dot this film more than his others.

Rated R for language (not only the proverbial F word, but also a bushel of the more offending C word) and mild drug use, the only thing this film lacks is sex-and if it were included, that would have been gratuitous. With strong performances from all cast members and particularly from their flagship, Elijah Wood, this is one film that may not be for all young Hobbits, but (I predict) will linger in the halls of film favorites for years to come. The film that Hollywood doesn't want you to see should be seen as often as possible, if not for the brilliance of the work, for no other reason than a firm vote of confidence for all grass roots efforts in the world of the creative arts. A+.