Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, Marc Warren, Leo Gregory, Henry Goodman, Geoff Bell
Written by: Lexi Alexander, Dougie Brimson, Josh Shelov
Directed by: Lexi Alexander
MPAA Rating: R for brutal violence, pervasive language and some drug use
Running Time: 109
Date: 03/12/2005
IMDB

Green Street Hooligans (2005)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Soccer Fall

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A movie about English football (soccer) hooligans shouldn't be too hard to pull off, especially one that gets the atmosphere of England, its crummy weather and cheery pubs. But Green Street Hooligans manages to botch it up. Director Lexi Alexander and co-writers Dougie Brimson and Josh Shelov take their promising setup and turn it into a moldy old lump of a movie, completely trapped inside its own stupidity.

Elijah Wood stars as Matt Buckner, a recently expelled Harvard journalism student who took the fall for his roommate's drug stash (the roommate is the son of a powerful politician, and Matt never bothered to fight or to clear his name). He goes to England to visit his sister Shannon (the deliciously dewy Claire Forlani) and her English husband Steve (Marc Warren). But since Matt has arrived on a date night, Steve asks Matt to go out for the evening with his hooligan younger brother, Pete (Charlie Hunnam -- with a shining Brad Pitt smile). Matt gets into his first football brawl and inexplicably finds himself part of the local "firm."

Alexander reveals his mistrust for the audience in many ways. He introduces "Cockney rhyming slang" and explains a couple of connections, but then the British characters stop using it, as if to cater to our American guest and his ignorance of such things. The plot twists are straight out of ancient gangster stories, complete with the one gang member who doesn't quite trust the Yank, and finds some flimsy circumstantial evidence -- based entirely on a radical coincidence -- to support his feelings. Moreover, Alexander films the all-important fight scenes as if the camera were attached to an outboard motor; it literally leaps up and down as it vainly tries to capture the action. Green Street Hooligans should have been terrifyingly alive; instead it plays more like a scoreless match.

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