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3.6 out of 5 stars
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3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 9 November 2006
I think a lot of people are missing the point with this film. For me, it was not so much about football violence as about the morals behind it. The main character, Elijah Wood, does not join the Green Street Elite because he enjoys the hooliganism - he joins because he finds a loyalty with them that he never found back home in America (as is highlighted by the opening scene). The fact that the film also makes you care about people you would normally despise (or should despise) shows how effecive it is at portraying the tragedy of such addiction to violence.

Yes, you can find faults with the film - the GSE leader's cockney accent is very dodgy, some scenes verge on the unbelievable. But as for the leader's walk - take a look around and you'll see that it's the way a lot of people walk when they are trying to look like more than they actually are. And Elijah Wood is not miscast - the fact that he does not look like a football hooligan is exactly the point.

The violence in this film is indeed quite graphic, but that doesn't make it glorified - rather it shows how destructive it can be, not just to the individual but to their families too.

The ending - unlike so many films - provides a satisfying conclusion that sums up the entire film. As Elijah says, it's not about brutal, meaningless violence but about learning 'when to stand up for yourself, and when to walk away.' The point of all the brutality in the film becomes clear as Elijah explains what he learnt from the Green Street Elite's excessive use of violence: that there is an alternative, which can be just as effective.

If you really do want a film about football hooliganism, then this may not be for you - try Football Factory. But as a film in itself, this is great.
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on 18 March 2012
I think a lot of people are missing the point with this film. For me, it was not so much about football violence as about the morals behind it. The main character, Elijah Wood, does not join the Green Street Elite because he enjoys the hooliganism - he joins because he finds a loyalty with them that he never found back home in America (as is highlighted by the opening scene). The fact that the film also makes you care about people you would normally despise (or should despise) shows how effecive it is at portraying the tragedy of such addiction to violence.

Yes, you can find faults with the film - the GSE leader's cockney accent is very dodgy, some scenes verge on the unbelievable. But as for the leader's walk - take a look around and you'll see that it's the way a lot of people walk when they are trying to look like more than they actually are. And Elijah Wood is not miscast - the fact that he does not look like a football hooligan is exactly the point.

The violence in this film is indeed quite graphic, but that doesn't make it glorified - rather it shows how destructive it can be, not just to the individual but to their families too.

The ending - unlike so many films - provides a satisfying conclusion that sums up the entire film. As Elijah says, it's not about brutal, meaningless violence but about learning 'when to stand up for yourself, and when to walk away.' The point of all the brutality in the film becomes clear as Elijah explains what he learnt from the Green Street Elite's excessive use of violence: that there is an alternative, which can be just as effective.

If you really do want a film about football hooliganism, then this may not be for you - try Football Factory. But as a film in itself, this is great.
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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.
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on 7 December 2005
The premise of the film is great, the exectution embarrassing in the extreme. Not only is Elijah Wood hopelessly miscast but Charlie Hunnam's accent is so bad it will make you cringe all the way through.
As if that's not enough, the detail in this movie is simply shocking. From bad locations to appalling dialgue, this film stinks worse that a month old kipper.
Rumour is that the writer Dougie Brimson -who many will know from his books- actually refused to appear in any of the additional DVD features in protest at what the director did with his script. If true, that's the wisest move taken by anyone involved with this shambles.
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on 15 April 2009
Inaccurate, clichéd, bathetic, `Green Street' is one of the most operatically diabolical films I have ever seen: a dreadful exposition of poor writing and worse actors' direction. It pins its ragged colours to a splintered mast within five minutes, when wide-eyed Bostonian ex-college kid Matt (Elijah Wood) descends on London and his sister Shannon (Claire Forlani) after being fitted-up by a coke-snorting Harvard fellow student with influential relatives to embarrass. As Matt arrives, we learn that Shannon's wideboy-made-good husband Steve (a cast-to-type Marc Warren) has quietly planned a romantic evening with the missus, enshrined in a pair of hard-to-come-by show tickets. Hubby hurriedly grabs the opportunity to palm off his unexpected guest on brother Pete (Charlie Hunnam), a mouthy skinhead who, as we already know from the opening sequence, delights in spending every Saturday afternoon knocking seven bells out of rival football supporters.

Although Steve's discomfort over Pete's potty-mouthed demeanour in front of both wife and guest is evident, such is the pull of showtime (it's 'Chicago', a gangland tale, chosen for reasons which will become howlingly obvious as the film develops) that he seems quite happy to entrust the naive Matt to the care of his errant bruv: an even rougher diamond than he whom he knows is certain to lead the young American astray.

Matt, despite his preppy disposition and the wee small voice of calm that would surely be bidding him "run" from such a dodgy situation, appears unfeasibly happy to spend quality time with this boorish and potentially dangerous character, his jetlag apparently having rendered him a sponge for every splenetic anti-American cliché in the book (yes, even the ones about "friendly fire" and "being late for both wars"). Soon the pair is all but arm-in-arm and joshing happily in the pub, Pete's initially-suspicious crew of local hardboys quickly coming around to the idea that the Yank's a good'un after all, understands loyalty and will support his new mates through any how's-yer-father that might be going.

Apart from generally getting things wrong about London in the most patronising ways imaginable, the film's foundation conceit, the very premise upon which Matt becomes involved with West Ham's Green Street Elite in the first place, is fatally flawed from the start and quickly heads south from there. We as viewers are drawn towards the GSE's loathsome characters only because so drainlike is the stench of the true 'bad guys' of the piece - wouldn't you know it, it's the MILLWALL firm - that anyone else can only waft in as aromatically as Chris de Burgh's aftershave, no matter how handy he might be with the coarser rhythms of East End slang, a taunting terrace chant and a set of brass knuckles. Ultimately the film overcooks to evaporation every hoary notion of the noble savage and his Cosa Nostra-style commitment to tribal loyalty and the closure of ranks. The allegiances are unlikely from the word go, the narrative has been seen before in any number of dramatic contexts (but done better and with greater complexity; for a football-specific example see 'ID') and the gang violence is graphically, gleefully choreographed to the point of voyeuristic pornography.

Every possible riff on London life is plundered short of shipping in a whelks stall and a couple of Pearly Kings. To echo a common complaint on this site, Hunnam delivers his lines in the most woeful cockernee accent this side of - yes, him again - Dick Van Dyke (I would also draw to m'lud's attention Anthony LaPaglia's surreal dissection of Mancunian speech patterns in 'Frazier') and it came as a considerable surprise to learn that the actor is actually a Geordie and not an Irish-American ex-cop from Queens. Marc Warren goes through his barrow-boy chops and does what we've come to expect of him, whilst Wood is actually quite good in a wretched role; the single observation that enthusiasts for this film have made with which I agree - that Matt needed to have an air of the innocent abroad about him, only latterly discovering a steelier determination to face life full-on - is fair enough, and few ought to be able to do this better than good old Frodo Baggins himself.

But this isn't nearly enough on which to hang the story. Steve, a hooligan reformed, would never have exposed Matt to the GSE in the first place, neither would a character like Matt have allowed himself to take up with such dubious companions out of choice. From the beginning he's not exactly falling on anybody's mercy for survival in cold London town. He's not short of cash; at the start of the film, he takes a bullet for his feckless college room-mate and receives a handsome sweetener for his trouble. And his father's Fleet Street connections could easily land him a plum job in journalism: Matt's major at Harvard and the calling whose discovery by the crews eventually leads to the film's ultimate big set-piece. Everything finally kicks off in a ludicrous yobfest on a bleak post-industrial lot, complete with the inevitable slo'mo evocation of our virtuous warrior-princes doing honourable battle for a higher calling, like 'Excalibur' with pylons.

Shannon eventually pitches up in her Range Rover to spoil the fun. Matt, an older, wiser man, heads back to Boston, where he encounters his Harvard nemesis. This serial doper, representing the decadent East Coast cul-de-sac Matt has escaped for Real Life, is busy enjoying a quiet toot in the mens' room of a posh restaurant (having helpfully left the cubicle door unlocked, as you do). And just as Matt's about to punch the hapless cokehead's lights out, wouldn't you know it? His hand is stayed. For all the murderous mayhem of his experiences over the sea and far away with the proud footballing Knights of Saint George, he's learned something precious and invaluable. Yes, like any Plaistow lad blooded in the tough-but-fair school of hard knocks that is Upton Park, he's emerged a better person. Of course he does: it's more than I did after wading through this excrement.
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on 23 October 2011
i'm suprised this film isn't rated alot higher than what it is, it's a very good film, pretty intense at times and Elijah Wood does a good job, i've only seen him in Lord of the rings before this, great film!
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VINE VOICEon 24 October 2005
This film really works. It is a disturbing look at the football hooligan phenomenon of the 1980's and centres on a mild mannered American's (Elijah Wood) unlikely involvement with a violent gang of West Ham United thugs. It is certainly hard to see Wood (Frodo from "LOTR") as a gouging ,"I'm forever blowing Bubbles" chanting hooligan as the fists and boots fly all around him, but it is a tribute to the film that his role is credible . However Charlie Hunman steals the show as the charismatic leader of the "Green Street" mob with a phenomenal, visceral acting performance. The violent scenes are extremely realistic, bloody and disturbing. Not a film for the squeamish, but a memorable one nonetheless.
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on 27 January 2015
An interesting movie, fairly well produced, which is sadly let down by two things. Firstly, the ridiculous Cockney accent of the lead character, which is so contrived and downright bad that I wondered whether the actor was American - no, even more shamefully, he is a Geordie! It spoiled the film for me and the director should have fired the actor on day 1 and replaced him with someone else. And secondly, the introduction of a small, very wimpy American rich kid into the group of West Ham hooligans was, to me, simply not believable. I also noted that in one scene where the group meets outside a (British) railway station, there are sounds of American train horns in the background - totally different to anything you'd hear in England, and clearly edited in by some American sound engineer who didn't know any better.
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on 3 August 2008
Watched this last night & although it passed the time, it's time that I'll never regain, unfortunately. This is a very cliched & (unintentionally) amusing story of an expelled, soon-to-be graduate from Harvard University esconcing to London to visit his sister. Within 5 minutes of arriving at her door his brother-in-law's younger brother (played by Charlie Hunnam, with the most pathetic attempt at a Cockney accent EVER!) is persuaded to take this Yank to see West Ham. A ruck ensues & young Frodo finds himself initiated into the feared Green Street Elite. Like that would happen. Before we know it he's involved in more scraps & finds himself seemingly enjoying the adrenaline rush. Elijah Wood is hopelessly miscast in this role considering he looks as if John Inman would take him out (in a fighting sense!) There's the usual storyline of betrayal-before-redemption & the denoument is cringeworthy: Wood, arms raised, belting out "I'm forever blowing bubbles" as he walks down a quiet American street after sorting out his university nemesis.
This is a film for the lads-mag reader out there ("Nuts" quote on the cover) who seemingly can't get enough of ultraviolent football capers. Everyone else avoid.
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on 9 February 2013
i live about a mile from GREEN STREET, WEST HAM FOOTBALL GROUND (UPTON PARK) is halfway along it and my house is near the back of the ground.
GREEN STREET film is a good story more like it was in the 60-80's . GREEN STREET 2 is a disaster,set in prison after the fight
none of the original characters, just a few outnumbered WEST HAM SUPPORTERS in the same prison as MILLWALL supporters. i was told there was a new GREEN STREET ( RETURN OF THE MAJOR ) but apparantly it was cancelled as number 2 was a disaster. it didn't have THE MAJOR, or leader of MILLWALL GANG or any of the main characters. NUMBER 3 3 was supposed to have VINNIE JONES and the guy who played the MAJOR who nearly Not sure if ELIJAH WOODS was going to return. ?
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