Urgent Update! The release of Green Street Hooligans has been rescheduled for Friday, November 18th!

Green Street Hooligans
dir. Alexander
Opens Fri Oct 21
Various Theaters

Green Street Hooligans is a depiction of the lifestyle of British football fans, as told through the discovering eyes of an American—a bizarre choice of vantage point. Played by Elijah Wood, Matt is falsely accused of drug involvement at Harvard and expelled. Adrift, he travels to London to crash his sister Shannon's (Claire Forlani) life, who's just had a baby with her Brit husband, Steve (Marc Warren).

Not that Matt ever holds the baby, or even spends the night. He barely has his jacket off before being hurtled into the hooligan underworld by Steve's younger brother Pete (Charlie Hunnam), who happens to be the leader of his "firm," the Green Street Elite, the hooligan accompaniment to the local football team. The fact that Matt meets resistance from only one member for being not only ignorant about football, inexperienced in fighting, and a Yank seems a little ridiculous, as does the idea that he would instantaneously develop an Anglophilic identification with these things.

Hopefully Hooligans isn't the realistic portrayal of hooliganism it aims to be—because if it is, hooligans are a bunch of causeless, destructive fucking asshats. Their feuds and vengeances have only an incidental relationship to the actual sport—here it's all about violence, which in this movie is pretty incredible, though the accompanying speedy techno music and hyper-stylized cinematography feels a little insulting, as if the film is trying to goad you into fantasizing that you too could be as cool as... a bunch of asshats.

That being said, as far as an engaging film, Hooligans is utterly riveting, climaxing in an excruciating, mega-violent clusterfuck. Once it gets going, the film's suspenseful, and never dull, with frequent interludes of exciting, barbaric fight scenes. The actors give good performances (give or take an accent or two), and those performances do a lot to save the film—even though the characters' actions are wildly bad, it's hard not to react to, if not like, select characters. In summation, Green Street Hooligans is bullshit as far as plot and realism. But I'd totally watch it again.