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
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
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