Green Street

Movie Review by Ania Kalinowska

Starring: Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, Leo Gregory, Marc Warren
Director: Lexi Alexander

‘I’m forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air, they fly so high, they nearly reach the sky, and like my dreams they fade and die…’

Sounds like a nursery rhyme, but I assure you the folk that sing this song are mostly over 18! If in doubt, GREEN STREET will teach you the meaning of these words. And if you’re not interested, this film gives meaning to a whole lot of other concepts to boot.

Budding journalist Matt Buckner (a believable Elijah Wood) gets kicked out of Harvard unfairly before completing his degree, and ends up crashing at his sister’s in London. This is where he learns about British football, hooliganism perpetuated by over-zealous football fans, and the legendary chant of West Ham United (ditsy quote, above). But there’s more profundity to it than mere footie culture. Steering him through some heavy life-changing processes is Pete (a very believable Charlie Hunnam), his sister’s brother-in-law: a tough, hot-blooded fanatic who runs a football firm and organises gang fights in his spare time. Not bad for livin’ it up in the ‘hood, eh mate! Want to join me for some brick-throwin’ later on?

The film’s most outstanding quality is the visually compelling style that makes it feel so real. Foolproof techniques are used to get us into the centre of things and, no doubt, it’s hard not to get drawn into the plot. The characters taking us there are at first hateable desperados, the kind loathed by public and police alike. But as we learn to understand them and their ways, our acceptance of their reasons and actions increases. This is not so much about violence as it is about camaraderie, loyalty and love.

While we’re at it though, the violence is entertaining. The bloody scraps that are the fight scenes take the authentically scenic route: savage, sore, symbolic. In a way they have the kind of liberating effect that FIGHT CLUB dished out for its members. As if this action was not exciting enough, there is some outstanding football footage from different contexts, which in itself is cause for applause because it gets the diversity pumping – we’re never seeing the same thing regurgitated in the same way. One sequence was even shot at a real-life West Ham game! It’s gripping to watch.

Football (soccer) fans and those clueless to the sport will both enjoy GREEN STREET. It is fresh, personal and (in a blood-infested kind of way) totally cool.

Most importantly, GREEN STREET has reinstated my love for bubbles (see my THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL review). Yipeee!!!!!!

‘Fortunes always hiding, I’ve looked everywhere. I’m forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air!
United! United!’

5 out of 6 stars

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