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DVD Review

DVD cover

Green Street (2005)
(2020 Reissue)


Starring: Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani and Leo Gregory
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £9.99
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 19 October 2020

When Matt is kicked out of Harvard on a false accusation of dealing drugs, he leaves for London to visit his estranged sister and her husband, Steve. There he is introduced to Steve’s brother, Pete. Pete introduces Matt to the world of the Green Street Elite a firm of hooligans who follow West Ham. As Matt embeds himself in the violent world of the GSE he engenders the ire and distrust from Pete’s right-hand man, Bovver. To oust the Yank from the firm, Bovver puts in place plans which will have tragic consequences…

Green Street (2005. 1 hr, 42 min, 24 sec) is a film about the world of British football hooliganism, directed by Lexi Alexander.

The film contains a number of themes. Firstly, there is Matt (Elijah Wood) who is at first a directionless young man, with little steel in his soul. He even takes the rap for the drugs found in his room, even though they belonged to his rich and powerful roommate. We also discover that his father is distant, his mother died and he is, at the beginning of the film, estranged from his sister. He is a man with no family to belong to, no loyalties to maintain.

He is drawn to the strong male bonds of loyalty in the GSE, where he experiences a situation where everyone has his back and he, in return, has their back. The GSE fulfils the function that his family were unable to.

Matt also undergoes his rite of passage into the GSE after his first blooding. He starts as an unskilled, but enthusiastic fighter, but gains in skill and ability. You could look at this as something wrong and in many ways, the film is not an easy watch as Alexander never shies away from either the reality or consequences of the violent life they have chosen.

Pete (Charlie Hunnam) is, at first, reluctant to agree to Steve’s (Marc Warren) request to take Matt to a match. At first, he does it, partly as a joke, but when Matt survives his first fight, Pete Starts to warm to him. What keeps Matt in the GSE is, in part because Matt rejects his sister and moves in with Pete, but more than this, the growing hostility of Bovver (Leo Gregory) to Matt means that it becomes a point about his legitimacy to run the firm.

The fight scenes are often not easy to watch, though they have an authenticity to them and are well choreographed. The film has come in for some criticism for this aspect which I feel is unfair, there are more deaths and overt violence in William Shakespeare’s, Romeo and Juliet, which also deals with gang rivalry in the unfettered violence between the Montagues and Capulets.

I thought the acting good, although I have some hesitancy over the casting of Wood, he eventually convinces in the role.

The disc comes with extras, four with the cast and crew. These are all sort but do contain the odd nugget of interest. You also get a music video and a couple of trailers.

In the end, I think the film succeeded in portraying a fictionalised version of football violence, while at the same time pulling off a coming of age story.


Charles Packer

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