‘Green Street Hooligans’


Lexi Alexander’s debut feature owes its pint-fueled proletarian angst and aggro to David Fincher and Alan Clarke. Hooligans nods at Fight Club with whip-pan-filled melees and a not-more-than-usual amount of unaddressed homoerotic exclusivity (“What happens at football stays at football”). But in reality, it’s rarely about football for the “soccer” hooligan, who privileges pre-arranged beat-downs over bicycle kicks—an irony that the film’s punch-up porn problematically acknowledges. Enlisting Nicholas Nickleby and a hobbit to play a hard East Ender and his Yank protégé seems ludicrous, but Charlie Hunnam is charismatic as a Green Street alpha geezer and Elijah Wood’s all wide-eyed innocence as a disgraced Harvard J-student who falls in with the West Ham lads. Hunnam, whose cockney ranges from dodgy to downright Caine-ian, mutes Gary Oldman’s bestial mouth-froth (in Clarke’s 1988 The Firm), becoming the prettiest, most articulate, bloodthirsty thug ever to put lip to lager. He nicks the film, lock, stock, and something about a barrel. Hooligans loses the plot late though—in the filmic and Brit-speak sense—revealing Hollywood, not hooligan, roots.

Archive Highlights