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Paul Greenwood

Published September 9th, 2005 | by Paul Greenwood

Green Street Review

Classification: 18 Director: Lexi Alexander Rating: 2/5

Matt (Wood) has just been expelled from his journalism course at Harvard, after inexplicably taking the fall for his cokehead roommate. With his father working abroad, and with nowhere else to go, he heads to London to visit his sister Shannon (Forlani) and her husband Steve (Warren). He’s barely in the door when Steve’s brother Pete (Hunnam) is whisking him off to his first “soccer” match. But Pete and his mates have far more than football on the agenda. They’re all members of the Green Street Elite, or GSE, a team of West Ham supporting hooligans who enjoy nothing more than a few pints and a vicious fight with opposing fans.

Soon enough Matt is embroiled in their world and kicking heads in with the best of them, both on the streets of London and around the country. Reputation is everything, as Pete strives for the GSE to be the most feared and infamous firm in England. Their hatred of journalists forces Matt to conceal his background, but for how long? As events builds towards a showdown with their most hated foes, the Millwall firm, family loyalties and personal vendettas threaten to spiral out of control and end in tragedy.

Green Street is a surefire target for the ban-this-filth brigade but, unless you’re a delicate flower who is offended by a bit of f’ing and c’ing, there’s really nothing worth getting excited about. The question should be: why are we supposed to be interested in the lives of these morons? Repetition soon sets in, as we go from the pub to a battle and back to the pub. The fights themselves are suitably ragged and impacting, but we never get to know Matt and therefore have no idea why he would want to associate with a bunch of pissed up thugs. The suggestion seems to be that they offer a sense of family and belonging, something that has been absent in Matt’s life, and that he identifies with their dubious code of loyalty.

It’s a brave and ambitious role for Wood to take on, and he does his best, but he’s ill served by the malnourished screenplay that offers no explanation for Matt’s transformation and no real character arc. Forlani is totally wasted while Hunnam struggles with a sub Dick Van Dyke accent and doesn’t really convince as a hard nut. The most effective stuff comes from Gregory who brings such a snivelling vibe to his role as the treacherous Bover that you could sometimes swear you were watching the young Klaus Kinski.


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