After a bogus drug scandal, a Harvard newspaper editor is kicked out of school and flies to London to live with his sister and her family.
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I don’t do sports. Least of all football. So when it was suggested that we watch a film about both of the aforementioned topics you can probably imagine my delight… As it turns out, “Green Street” isn’t really about football – in fact there’s barely even a few minutes of sportsing-related air-bag kickery throughout the entire 108 minute runtime. So, what is it actually about then? If you don’t already know, “Green Street” is about fighting, gangs, fighting, drinking, fighting and family – with some colourful language thrown in for good measure.
The film opens with a violent fight in London between two groups which gives you a good idea of how the rest of the film will be played out. We then jump to America with Matt (Elijah Wood) taking the fall for his roommate’s drugs misdemeanour and being kicked out of Harvard University where he was studying journalism. Matt decides to fly to London where his sister Shannon (Claire Forlani) lives with her husband Steve (Marc Warren). There he meets Steve’s brother Pete (Charlie Hunnam) – a somewhat typical cockney ‘lad’. Pete is on the scrounge for money and Steve gives him some cash on the proviso that he takes Matt with him to the football match. Things get off to a rough start as baby-faced Matt, an American, is seen as an outsider with Pete’s group. Pete’s group being the notorious, violent GSE (Green Street Elite) firm – a ‘firm’ essentially being a gang that is linked to a specific football team.
The film gets off to an interesting start and you can see that the focus is more on family and friendships than it is on football and fighting – however, the fighting plays a large part throughout the film along with the very strong language. The fights are violent, graphic and detailed – hence the 18 rating in the UK.
As the story progresses we see Matt getting more and more involved with the GSE, honing his fighting skills and trying to hide the fact that he studied journalism – hooligans don’t like journalists… However some members of the firm aren’t happy with ‘The Yank’ and his acceptance in the group and go to great lengths to make their point. We learn about Pete’s family history and the history of the GSE; we see the camaraderie and friendship; …and we see things start to break down.
The acting in the film is good and every actor plays their part convincingly. Some of the Cockney accents are a little odd at times but it works in general. However, with the abundance of Cockneys, Elijah Wood’s American accent sticks out like a sore thumb and actually sounds fake – even though it’s his actual, real-life accent!
To go into the story any more would be verging into spoiler territory but, as you can probably guess, the rivalries between firms comes to a head and families/friends are pushed to their limits. Overall, while the storyline was somewhat predictable at times there was enough in “Green Street” that I could overlook it. The film is well made and tells a gripping story and is well worth a watch if you like a bit of violent drama.
Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!