Green Street

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Review byMatthew Turner8/09/2005

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 109 mins

Wood and Hunnam are badly miscast but Green Street remains engaging thanks to some impressive direction and a passable level of authenticity.

The Background
Like The Perfect Match, Green Street is another sports related movie that has undergone a slight name change for the UK market. In the States, Green Street is known as Green Street Hooligans. At any rate, the main problem with Green Street isn’t the title, it’s the casting. It’s impossible to walk past the Green Street poster without a) laughing hysterically and b) wondering just who the hell decided to cast Elijah “Mister Frodo” Wood as a football hooligan. Shoddy work, casting directors. Shoddy.

The Story
Elijah plays Matthew Buckner, an American journalism major who gets expelled from Harvard when his rich roommate frames him for drug possession. He ends up in dear old Blighty, intending to visit his sister, Shannon (Claire Forlani). He then quickly hooks up with his brother-in-law’s brother, Pete (Charlie Hunnam), who turns out to be the leader of “The Glorious GSE” (Green Street Elite) – a firm of West Ham-supporting hooligans. After his first fight, Matthew is accepted into the firm, despite the suspicions of fellow hooligan Leo Gregory.

The Good
Green Street is co-written and directed by Lexi Alexander, a female German director with firsthand experience of football hooliganism, having been part of the Mannheim City Boys firm for several years. It’s this firsthand experience that gives the film its level of authenticity and allows for some truthful, yet frequently overlooked observations, such as the fact that many football hooligans hold down respectable white-collar jobs during the week.

The fight sequences are violent and surprisingly exciting – they’re very well staged. The film also has some great supporting performances, notably from Forlani (who really doesn’t have the career she deserves), Leo Gregory, Joel Beckett (Jake Moon from EastEnders) and the always excellent Marc Warren, as Matthew’s brother-in-law.

The Bad The real problem is that the bad bits of Green Street are very bad indeed. They include the casting of Elijah Wood - he is simply horribly miscast and this is particularly evident in the tattoo scene. Charlie Hunnam turns in an utterly dreadful, line-mangling, squirm-inducing performance (reputedly redubbed, but still atrocious), whilst the voice-over narration is staggeringly appalling.

The Conclusion
In short, Green Street is a half-decent drama with some hilariously bad moments that threaten to drag it into good Bad Movie territory. That said, it definitely has its moments and it’s worth watching if you can stop yourself giggling at Elijah trying to be scary.

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Green Street
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Content updated: 15/12/2019 02:43

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