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Director: Lexi Alexander

Producers: Deborah Del Prete, Gigi Pritzker, Donald Zuckerman

Written by: Lexi Alexander, Dougie Brimson, Josh Shelov

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


Earlier this year, spring to be exact, Green Street Hooligans (formerly Hooligans), was one of the big premieres at SXSW. It won the narrative feature competition and the audience award. This is the first from former kick-boxing champion and Academy Award winning short director, Lexi Alexander.

Green Street Hooligans follows Matthew Buckner (Wood), expelled from Harvard and fleeing the states to live with his sister, Shannon (Forlani), and her family in England. Matt took the rap for his roommate, a senator’s son, who was stashing his drugs in Matt’s cubby. I once had a roommate who did crap like that to me; needless to stay he stopped being a roommate. As soon as he gets in the door he’s unwittingly ushered out by Shannon’s husband, Steve (Warren), to entertain Steve’s crude brother, Pete (Hunnam), so Shannon and Steve can put their baby to bed early. In case you miss the subtlety, by that I meant so they can sleep together. And by sleeping I mean sexual intercourse.

Pete for some reason sees potential in Matt and decides to initiate him into his group, the GSE firm for the West Ham United football team. And by football I mean soccer. The GSE firm is essentially a gang of extremely enthusiastic fans who like to get into fights with other firms to cement their reputation and. Pete inherited his leadership position from his brother, formerly known as the firm’s “Major.”

Outcast from his home and distant from his father, Matt easily falls into the group. He gets noticed for being an American and he follows Pete unquestioningly. If there are any positive values that Matt learns from his new mates, it’s that you need to stand up for yourself and your honor and you don’t abandon your friends.

The acting in this movie was excellent, especially Hunnam’s Pete. Pete is just such a cunning, crass, blunt individual. He has a commanding presence which I think is lacking in so many of these young punks who get all the lead roles in Hollywood today. You just understand why he’s the leader. But in his youth, you also understand how he felt being in the shadow of his older brother. Wood’s Matthew Buckner is also strong, though not quite equal to Hunnam. That’s more the fault of the writing rather than his performance: Some of his dialogue got pretty annoying and rather clichéd at certain points.

I noticed way back, a lot of people had problems with this movie. Brits in particular were especially resentful of a movie that “glorifies” such an embarrassing and extreme side of their culture. Well they were obviously too stuck up or moronic to actually sit down and watch the movie because that’s hardly what it does. Alexander’s intention was not to glorify hooliganism or romanticize hooligans. At her SXSW panel she talked about how, growing up, she was around these types of people (such as her brother). She wanted to show how schizophrenic the people who participate are—seemingly just average people who suddenly turn into these psychotic and angry lunatics.

And if anything isn’t glorified in this movie, it’s the violence. The violence in this movie is hard, gritty, and ugly. It’s not exaggerated or sanitized. It really looks real violence and it does NOT look fun or “badass.” What this movie does is that it re-sensitizes you to violence and shows that when you hit a person, you could kill them.

—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

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