Thursday, December 07, 2006

GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS

Green Street HooligansElijah Wood Directed by Lexi Alexander
Starring Elijah Wood
Reviewed by Byron Merritt

VERY HESITANT THUMBS UP!

A VERY HESITANT THUMBS UP FILM REVIEW RATING!


Violence for the sake of violence is probably one of the most unappealing things most people can think of. But other forms of violence are often just as suspect. To war over ones religious beliefs, cultural differences, or natural resources is just as insidious. So try to imagine fighting over ...nothing. Well, maybe not nothing. Perhaps your pride was at stake. Is that worth beating your fellow man over the head with a blunt object? This will be the toughest thing to understand when watching GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS.

Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood, LORD OF THE RINGS series) just got kicked out of Harvard. He was only two months shy of graduating with a degree in journalism when drugs were found in his university apartment. But Matt shared the place with another roommate who’d been hiding his drugs within Matt’s closet. And this roommate belongs to a powerful family (the Van Holden’s). His roommate promises to give Matt a job if he just holds out for a little while. So Matt, being a bit of a scrawny weakling, accepts his disgrace and leaves Harvard (it should also be noted that Matt had little chance of beating the wrap even if he notified the appropriate authorities because of how powerful the Van Holden’s were).

Matt flees to his sister’s house in England where he tries to hide his shame from his journalist father, too. And an accidental run-in with a football (don’t call it soccer!) fanatic will alter Matt’s life forever. Pete Dunham (Charlie Hunnam, NICHOLAS NICKLEBY) is this football fan who heads a group of hooligans on Green Street. They have what they call "A Firm" which, in reality, is nothing more than a gang of thugs parading around as local football devotees. When games are played at home or on another team’s turf, the Green Street Hooligans are there, mocking the opposing team’s "Firm", thus igniting bloody-fisted brawls. The winner of said brawls receives pride points as word of their successes spread from Firm to Firm. Matt becomes one of the Green Street gang and learns to strengthen his knuckles as well as his pride. As the blood spews (and there’s crimson-o-plenty), Matt falls deeper and deeper under violence’s spell.

It takes a bitter fight to free Matt from the Hooligans’ clutches, and he heads back to America where he finally confronts his old Harvard roommate with the drug problem. But now Matt isn’t afraid. His mind is sharp and his fists scarred. His hallelujah moment arrives just as expected.

Although predictable too, the ending is a righteous event. Elijah Wood pulls in an excellent performance as a completely believable wuss who eventually turns his life around via questionable tactics. This is what gives the film its positive rating, too.

The tough pill to swallow is the extreme violence that gushes across the screen and the all important "why". Why do they fight like this over seemingly nothing? Part of it is a sense of belonging. To anything. Even if that "anything" is beating on someone’s face whom you know nothing about.

The reality is that there are things like this out there (just read the newspapers about football fans brawling in parking lots, or little league parents beating up umpires for bad calls), which is why you’ll see positive reviews of Green Street Hooligans. But that doesn’t make this any less a sad statement. But a statement isn’t why we’re here. We’re here to see if the film was entertaining, and it most certainly was. But separating the message from the entertainment may be too difficult for some viewers.

Click here for the Green Street Hooligans movie trailer!

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