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'Hey Pete, got any jobs going?'
on 6 October 2007
When films are this bad, your humble reviewer is in a quandary:
Go full hit and expound manifold reasons why said work stinks like a dead whale, or curtly dismiss it, therefore saving words, phrases and ideas for reviews which better merit the process of their conception.
It really doesn't take much perception or insight to be able to judge 'Green Street' as the worst kind of film that gets made today. An idiotic mish-mash of social commentary and action thriller; and a glaring example of Hollywood's deep obsession/understanding of the darker side of all things culturally British.
Ie: Find a subject that they think is cinematic/appealing to people's baser principles, go to 'authentic' locations, hire 'local' actors, and finally, plonk a well-known American in the lead so, in theory, you have something which appeals to everyone.
But, and it's a big but, for this to work you need a few things in your favour:
You need a decent script; you need the director to at least be alive, and you need the cast to be on top of their game.
'Green Street' doesn't have any of these. In spades.
Some proof? I HATE lists, but they're all that 'GS' deserves..
1) The script. It would take too long to convey how bad it is, so some examples:
If you're a footie thug, one of your major essentials on a match-day is avoiding the police. Drunkenly screaming your heads off down the tube will get you surrounded in seconds.
On occasion, the film looks like an ad for Lacoste trainers. Most hooligans don't wear whites because it shows blood up too easily if the cops are looking for you later. Wow, research? Duh.
There's no football 'lad' IN THE WORLD, who on seeing his brother's new baby, will start singing "I'm West Ham til I die!!!" at the top of his voice.
Being teenage in a film is one thing, being completely infantile is another.
There are no pubs in London where you can stand on tables, sing like donkeys and lash lager all over each other without burly bouncers forcibly removing you, and the cops closing the place down within 48 hours.
All this, and more, in the first 15 minutes! Sets the tone early on, and the film never recovers.
2)The director. Where to start. The violence (and lets face it, that's the only reason we're watching this nonsense) is handled al la Van Damme. Shamelessly contrived (are fights ALWAYS between equal numbers?), and bar-room.
Drunken louts fly through the air, blood squirts in slow motion, camera's glide and zoom. Oh blah blah. Tiresome beyond the box-office. Clueless use of (tepid anyway) music on the soundtrack. Naïve and stereotypical use of locations. On and on and on...(zzzzz.... reviewer needs caffeine)
3)The 'star'.(Ie. The review's meat, as opposed to the script being the spuds, and the director the veg!) In this case it's a hottie, Elijah Wood, fresh from a scary trip to Doom Mountain and being careless with some bling.
I swear to you he's asleep throughout the film. It's obvious to all, that he's asked his agent to find him a role as far removed from the Shire as is possible. His agent says "British football hooligans!!" and Elijah says "I'll do it"
What he didn't do, was check the script, signed up blind, and lived to regret it. He's awake long enough to look lost, bemused and incredulous all at once, before he reverts back to his state of torpor and prays for shooting to finish so he can cash his cheque and get on the first plane out. Back to Trippin' AM (undisputed queen of the fan-girls!!), and his next embarrassing mis-cast as Iggy Pop!.
Weedy, sleepy, snoozy, contractually obliged. Bless him. "I'm not feeling too good, I wanna go home" he slurs at one stage. You and me both mate.
The rest of the cast go from being slightly worse than EJ, to being absolutely dreadful. Accents slip from posh acting school to Cockney, and back again in bewildering fashion. None of them look remotely hard, the nearest they've got to Chelsea is when Major Daddy took 'em down to Kensington to look at apartments.
Some of these guys might just make decent lucky-chimney-sweeps at weddings when the acting work dries up. (Start booking now!)
The only female in the cast is a looker (yay! A positive! I nearly gave it another star for that), but she provides worthy competition to the blokes in the scene-chewing, chronic over-acting competition.
It's close, but the guys win on points.
This genre cries out for a passionate director and a believable script, and maybe one day a definitive football thug movie will be made, but it will have to be the polar opposite of 'Green Street' in just about every aspect.
Comatose from start to painful end, it's difficult to see why such visual (and visceral!) subject matter falls so miserably at every hurdle. You'd think it would inspire scorching cordon bleu movies, instead of the half-baked, week-old meat pie b's that it actually does.
And that's about as fair as I can be to a ludicrous work of elaborate fiction masquerading as caustic social artifact.