Green Street (2005) starring Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, Marc Warren, Leo Gregory, Geoff Bell, Kieran Bew, Henry Goodman directed by Lexi Alexander Movie Review

Green Street (2005)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Elijah Wood in Green Street (2005)

The Hobbit Hooligan

Two months shy of his graduation Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood) found himself kicked out of Harvard when his room mate stashed cocaine in his closet and it was discovered. With his plans shattered and at a lost he decides to head to Britain to see his sister Shannon (Claire Forlani) who has settled down with Steve (Marc Warren) and started a family. It is Steve who introduces Matt to his football fan brother Pete (Charlie Hunnam) although Matt learns that Pete isn't just a fan but he is a football hooligan and leader of the Green Street Elite. Initially shocked by the brutal violence Matt finds himself wanting to join in fuelled by the excitement of the fight and its addictive powers.

On a simple level "Green Street" is the story of a nerdy American who comes to London and ends up falling in with the wrong crowd, a bunch of violent football hooligans. We watch as he gets hooked on the fighting whilst appreciating the loyalty of his new friends. Of course things can't end there and are nerdy American gets a wake up call maybe before it is too late. All of which is very straight forwards and director Lexi Alexander handles all of this in an intentionally noisy way as we are thrown into the world of football fans that drink till their drunk, sing their club songs and march down the street to the stadium on club day like a terrifying pack of thugs. All of which works as "Green Street" is a good representation of the football hooligan culture.

Charlie Hunnam in Green Street (2005)

But "Green Street" works at another level and is an examination of man, the power of belonging and how the excitement of fighting can change you. And it is an effective look as we follow Matt a young man whose sudden expulsion has left him feeling lost and in need of something which comes from then sense of friendship and loyalty he discovers with Pete and his friends. We also see how it becomes addictive; the thrill of fighting and even suggesting that inside everyman is the basic instinct to fight which can be awoken when your back is against the wall. I am not one for over analyzing movies but this side of "Green Street" is clear to see and interesting to follow.

It is because "Green Street" is both a visual movie but one with this interesting depth that the casting works as Elijah Wood has such a nice guy persona about him that to watch him be drawn into the world of hooliganism amplifies what is being said. And Wood is convincing as the lost young man who finds the loyalty and fighting is what he needs, giving him the sense of belonging lost when he was kicked out of Harvard. At the same time Charlie Hunnam brings that air of youthful danger to his character, that aspect of cockiness which makes him the sort of person that if you saw them in the street you would be concerned about.

What this all boils down to is that "Green Street" is an effective drama which works on a visual level as simple entertainment. But it works just as well as a look at man, his need for friendship, for respect and the addictive power of all of this as well as fighting.