| The Red Right Hand
GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS
Where to start with this one? An American lead, a German director and Newcastle support playing a Londoner? It's not exactly the makings of a beautiful film now is it? Being a rugby fan I'm not overly bothered by the footie troubles that seemingly crop up every now-and-then but importantly it is only something that occasionally rears its ugly head, it's not a common occurrence. The open ten minutes had me cringing, remembering fights that I had seen or been involved in, classic London brawls, no showy guns or knives just anything on-hand that you could use to damage the man in front of you (don't get the wrong impression, I don't go looking for trouble it just seems to catch me off-guard and find me every once in a while). The young yobs on screen aren't just football hooligans, they're chavs: drunken degenerates with monotonous, unfulfilling jobs who have nothing better to do but get into fights with others. I see these people all the time and I hate them for what they've done to my country and our reputation, going abroad and getting plastered, causing general disturbances and ultimately shaming us.
With that said I'm now sinking into my seat and hoping this film doesn't get shown outside of Hackney, I don't want the world to think this is what we're all like [as the Americans do, we're either all yobbish oiks with bad teeth, or floppy-haired fops á la Richard Curtis films]. We cut to the amazingly clean-looking Harvard University where we're fed a few brief lines about Matt Buckner's [Wood] past; seems he was caught with drugs that belonged to his senator-son room mate and has been thrown out. Swept with emotion he leaves for England to visit his sister, Shannon [Forlani]. Matt is introduced to his brother-in-law, Steve [Warren] and his brother Pete [Hunnam]. We recognise Pete as the leader of one of the gangs that started the fight the night before, so we -the audience- don't want Matt to go with him when Steve tells Pete to bring Matt to the game. Once out of the house and round the corner Pete corners Matt and demands the money that Steve just gave to him, now I got a little lost at this point but for some reason Pete decides to take pity on the weedy little yank and lets him come with him to the local footie-boozer.
Suddenly Matt's journalist background is swept away and he befriends the GSE [Green Street Elite] which is probably based on the ICF [Inter City Firm]. For those that don't know football or England, every football club has a 'firm' who are basically a bunch of lads who take the game a little too seriously. These men, with pride and loyalty have made it their life's work to worship the beautiful game and destroy anyone who opposes them. Got it? Good, because the description offered in the film has nothing to do with it - we have Brimson to thank for that, he writes books on football hooliganism and is therefore too close to realise that it's basically low-grade crime and domestic rioters/disturbers.
The film is essentially nothing but these guys getting into trouble over-and-over again and some waffle about previous rivalries with other firms. It's absolute rubbish! I agree that the nature of football hooliganism is an interesting topic for analysis and movie basis but not in a form that glorifies it! That's right, at the end of the film Matt confronts the room mate I mentioned earlier and thanks to his experience abroad he's learned how to handle himself and manages to blackmail the college graduate and threaten to 'break his teeth' then walks off down the dark US street singing a West Ham FC chant, ridiculous! To be honest it's not as if this happens every single match, that the firms hold that much swing or weight with the media or public interest or even that the 'plot' is believable, there's no way they would accept an American; they hate yanks.
Still, I understand how Wood would want to get away from the hobbit image and in all fairness he's done just that. I initially remember him from being in the movie Flipper and as such dubbed him Fish Boy. Later he proved himself worthy by starring in a highly underrated film, The Faculty and then Lord Of The Rings. After the Rings trilogy I dubbed him Hobbit #1. He was so close to edging from that image with his role in Sin City but I still called him Hobbit #1 and with the release of this film? Yeah, Hobbit #1 or at a push, Mr. Frodo. Better luck next time Elijah.
9th September 2005
The Scene To Look Out For:
After Matt's first game he walks back to the tube station on his own, on his way he gets jumped by some Birmingham fans. The moments leading up to the jump had my heart in my mouth, simply because I've been through those dark-alley scenarios myself and they are terrifying.
I don't know, I hated all of them. Bloody chavs.
"There's more to life than this"
In A Few Words:
'A good little project gone to waste'