Just weeks shy of receiving his diploma from Harvard, journalism major Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood) is set up to take the fall for his over-privileged roommate when campus officials discover drugs in their suite. Disillusioned over the event, Buckner hops a flight to London to visit his sister Shannon. However, arriving at an inopportune time, Matt is pawned off onto his sister’s brother-in-law Pete who is conned into taking the yank to a local West Ham United football match. Pete also happens to be the leader of the Green Street Elite (GSE) ‘firm’ for West Ham United and one of the most feared and infamous firms of England. Of course Pete is initially apprehensive about an outsider (and a yank, at that) closely observing the goings-on of the GSE, but after a run in with the Birmingham City Thugs and a few dozen pints at the pub, Matt is fully immersed and falls under the sway of Pete and the camaraderie of the firm. Elijah Wood may seem a bit miscast for this role, but it seems that was exactly the point. Wood plays the part of an Ivey League educated softie to a T. However, Matt Buckner soons finds a home among the violence, and unity that the GSE offers and discovers there are valuable life lessons to be learned that aren’t taught at any university. Word spreads quickly about the GSE’s new “international” addition, and after a triumph against another Manchester firm outnumbering the GSE by 2:1, they find themselves once again the most infamous firm in England.
Green Street Hooligans serves as an excellent introduction and, somewhat limited, dissection of football hooliganism to American audiences. The film won numerous independent film festival awards including both the grand jury prize and the audience award at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin- the only film to ever do so, I believe. It’s certainly an entertaining flick and the violence found within is brutal, though not nauseatingly so, and never overdone. Just think of it this way: It’s like watching West Side Story, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Fight Club without the dancing, Brad Pitt, laughs, or the guns. It’s Frodo hanging out in pubs with hooligans and going to football matches; you can’t go wrong! All in all, a highly recommended piece of work.
Review by Emma Loggins
Official site: http://www.greenstreethooligans.com/
Buy on Amazon: Green Street Hooligans