Green Street (2004)
Sat 3rd Feb 2018 115m
Elijah Wood wears his worried face throughout the feature debut of writer/director Lexi Alexander and with good reason. He plays an American journalism student who moves to London after being kicked out of Harvard, only to become a paid-up member of West Ham football hooligans, the Green Street Elite. The film does not focus so much on the fruits of violence but more on the fun and companionship. The worst acts, however, are left to the gangs - known as "firms" - who batter each other for territory and reputation. Wanting to be like Alan Clarke's The Firm but not quite managing it, Green Street's low production values and simplistic (not to say nonsensical) plot do it no favours at all. It relies on hackneyed camerawork, unsubtle use of music and predictable character turns to move the flimsy story along. While Wood has a part to get his teeth into, other actors are not as well served, most notably Claire Forlani who does her best in a thankless role as the dutiful mother/daughter/sister. Violence may make people band together as brothers, but it can certainly be portrayed to more powerful effect than here.