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STO Soccer Film Review: Green Street Hooligans

Green Street Hooligans is not really a soccer movie per se, it’s more of an examination of the brutality that sometimes surrounds soccer’s many supporters groups. Starring that little hobbitt, Elijah Wood, the film was based on a screenplay written by Dougie Brimson, who himself used to be a hooligan supporter of Watford FC.

In the film, Wood plays Matt, an expelled Harvard student who moves to England to live with his sister and her husband. He soon meets Pete, his sister’s brother-in-law, who is the leader of the Green Street Elite, a West Ham United hooligan firm. Pete introduces Matt to the other GSE members and soon Matt is inducted into the firm.

Matt and the GSE get into plenty of fights in the film, and I won’t play spoiler here, but let’s just say that if you are looking for a happy ending, rent another movie. The film has been criticized for exagerrating the level of violence between supporters’ groups, but Brimson claims the brutality is realistic, which is scary if it’s true.

Overall, I must say I hated this film. To me, it celebrated the violence that pervades some supporters groups, rather than trying to discourage folks from engaging in such stupid behavior. They are apparently making a sequel, which will revolve around a minor character from the first film who is incarcerated for fighting. It sounds terrible, but it could hardly be worse than the original. Green Street Hooligans had a chance to say something profound about the consequences of hooliganism. Instead, I fear it simply glamorized firms’ foolish feuds.

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