Green Street Hooligans, starring Elijah Wood and Charlie Hunnam, directed by Lexi Alexander, written by Alexander, Dougie Brimson, and Josh Shelov.
A movie about loyalty, violence, football (soccer), friendship, and beer. Wood’s character, a journalism student, gets kicked out of Harvard because his blue-blood roommate has coke in the room. He goes to London to visit his sister, where he meets her husband’s brother Pete (Hunnan). Pete heads up the Green Street Elite, a hooligan ‘firm’ (part gang, part fightclub) linked with West Ham United’s football club. Beer-drinking, fighting, and manlove* (no, not that kind) ensue.
A good primer to the hooligan football mentality, GSH offers an interesting take on the importance of violence and reputation in the world of the young male. The firms from opposing football clubs basically look for ways to demean and beat the crap out of each other. A lot of punches to the face and slow-mo blood spurts. Our buddy Elijah develops newfound self-confidence as he embraces his inner brawler. He learns about courage and standing up with your mates. Of course violence doesn’t really solve all your problems, unless you’re Bruce Lee or Conan, so we get that as well. A lot of cool London cinematography and good music/scoring in the mix.
One thing that struck me was how these guys would whip up on each other without taking it too far (for the most part). Once you’re down and insensate, the beating is over. That stuff just doesn’t happen over here. Kids get scared and go find a gun and start shooting (wasn’t there a long monologue about this in Friday) , or someone sues. Sometimes I wish we could just throw down on each other on this side of the pond. But it probably wouldn’t end well for me, and it’s not the Jedi way.
So, a good movie if you’re down with it (a little to violent for the wife), and worth the time and rental fee.
*Manlove, copyright 2002, Ben Percy