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  Green Street
Year: 2005
Director: Lexi Alexander
Stars: Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, Marc Warren, Leo Gregory, Henry Goodman, Geoff Bell, Rafe Spall, Kieran Bew, Ross McCall, Christopher Hehir
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: My own list of 'away trips to be treated with caution' would include Spurs, Liverpool/Everton, Boro and West Ham: the latter being almost everyone's worst nightmare.

American journalist Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood) finds himself firmly planted in the Upton Park mayhem when he arrives in England to stay with sister Shannon (Claire Forlani). Buckner's expulsion from Harvard - the result of taking a fall for his coke-addicted room-mate - is, along with his profession, kept secret from brother-in-law Steve(Marc Warren) and Pete (Charlie Hunnam); the self-styled 'top boy' in West Ham's Green Street Elite. Although Buckner receives a mostly hostile reception from this ultra-violent firm, the picture changes when a fierce encounter with Birmingham's mob sees him emerge with credit for standing his ground.As the film proceeds, Buckner gets deeper and deeper into the shadowy world of football violence, gaining respect from all but one of his fellow members: Bover (Leo Gregory) becomes jealous of Buckner's relationship with Pete and travels deep into the territory of the Hammers' biggest rivals, but for what reason?

Following on from cult fave The Football Factory, Lexi Alexander's Green Street features all the things you want and, possibly, a few that you never expected. Confrontations between rival fans are brutal in the extreme, capturing age-old rivalries with an intensity that will surely strike a chord with all those who played (and stiil play) the game. Strong stuff indeed, but Green Street also demonstrates that many of the combatants are decent people in everyday life with responsible jobs, solid family backgrounds and firm values regarding the things that really matter. Alexander successfully touches base with all the above, and is equally adept at painting the darker side of human nature where individuals grasp the baton handed down by relatives and friends to engage in organised warfare with likeminded people. Although I still believe the definitive 'Firms' picture has still to be made (maybe Danny Boyle will do the honours?), Green Street is, for now, more than good enough. The involvement of Dougie Brimson (script and production) may raise a few hackles amongst past and present boys, and a few scenes (the Manchester 'off', Shannon's appearance during the climax) are possibly a bit hard to swallow, but this should not detract from a job well done. Wood, Warren, Forlani and Hunnam are all excellent, and do look out for Geoff Bell as Millwall's number one: perhaps the most loathesome Cockney screen villain since Sexy Beast's Don Logan.

Aka: Hooligans
Reviewer: Steve Langton

 

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