Cover Art: 8/10
I didn’t know anything about this film so looking at the cover I had a certain impression. What impression that was, I’m not really sure to be honest. I have to admit I was confused by the combination of ominous green color and intimidating arrangement of angry looking young men staring at me. But then I saw the Hobbit and I felt much better….haha just kidding. Had to say it at least once in this review and since Elijah Wood gives a fantastic performance that will knock any memories of that little trilogy he did a few years ago. So, the cover is pretty good since it’s not a turn off and it actually made me stop and try to figure out what I was about to get myself into.
The menu is the LOUDEST DVD menu our surround sound has had the pleasure of hammering down on our heads. So, consider this a kind warning for you when you plop in the disc. Other than the sound the menu is pretty boring, functional, but blah.
- The Making Of Hooligans – The only value to this mini-featurette is that you get to see the brave women who made this film come to life. The director and producer are both of the fairer sex, if that phrase still applies in the 21st century, and when you are deep in the movie you will be convinced that some testosterone riddled humans are behind the fight sequences and the over all tone of the story. This puny little extra doesn’t do much more than put some faces behind all the amazing story telling, so it’s fair, but not great. I would like to have seen a documentary or more information about the firms that rule the underbelly of Europe’s football world. Wishful thinking.
- One Blood Music Video – My head could explode if I have to see a music video listed as a DVD extra again in my lifetime…so get ready for the big boom!
The Movie: 9/10
I always thought a firm was something like Creepy, Sleazy, and Dopey Law Firm. That shows my Americanism. As you settle in to watch Green street Hooligans you will learn something about firms, and a little something about life. That might sound melodramatic, but sometimes a movie comes along that has a very deeply rooted reality you can’t dismiss just because it’s a movie. So, what’s so real about a story focused on a somewhat confused Harvard journalism student kicked out of school because of someone else’s indiscretions. Wood plays the down and out writer who takes a trip to England to see his sister, and soon runs headlong into a life he never knew he wanted.
His brother-in-law’s brother (got that) shows up with a hard ball attitude and takes the “yank” to his first football match, but the game isn’t the star attraction. Getting the snot knocked out of him after the game by a rival firm is the thing that starts the life lesson. The football seems to be the smallest part of this ultra violent world. The firms are “fans” who follow their teams, kick the crap out of each other, and build a reputation for themselves that travel from one end of the continent to the other.
In the first few minutes of the film I was judgmental and annoyed that this kind of boyish bullshit even existed, and then the beautiful storytelling slowly started to refocus my pious attitude. Every character is fleshed out perfectly, some less dynamic, but all important to get the full picture of this British sub culture. The firms are an alternate family, a place to belong, a group to be a part of where you stand up for your mates, right or wrong, and you never run away from a fight. Our lost little college boy had no real sense of belonging until he met up with this group of hooligans. This unlikely marriage makes more sense than imagining him going back to his safe little life without fists flying and blood oozing from his battered face.
Everyone does a fine job, and for me the British actor who plays Pete is not only quite attractive :), he’s so compelling to watch as a performer. I want to see more of him, so come on people, get some more Brit DVD imports for us please. I even got turned around on my opinion of the chick who always seemed kind of boring, from Mallrats and Meet Joe Black, she’s come a long way. Her character isn’t a dominant on screen personality, but the moments we see her and her importance to certain other characters keeps her presence in mind. I credit her for keeping the theatrics to a minimum even though she’s put into some dramatic moments. Like Wood, I left her past performances and characters behind and she paved herself a fresh new start as far as I’m concerned.
I have to mention the fight sequences. This is the most up close and personal look at brawls I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of movies in my time. Sometimes the scenes are cut with a lot of fast motion, sometimes you get slow motion faces and fists in full blaze. It doesn’t glamorize the violence, but it does confirm one comment Wood’s character makes later in the movie, that once he got punched the first time and realized he wasn’t made of glass, it started to give him a rush every time he thought of the pending fights. I am not a fighting kind of chick, but I have to say this movie is exciting, and eye opening, touching, and shows another side of these men who seem to be a throw back to the olden days of barbarism. It must be genetic in the male make up, that they have the urge to punch and be punched. As long as they keep it to themselves and don’t drag the rest of us into it, hey, go for it.
Over all I love this movie from start to finish. The look is subdued but elegant, even though it’s got a lot of fighting and blood letting. The story is gripping and the performances bump it up to be one of my favorite DVD’s of the year so far.
Does the college boy get his groove back and leave the manly world of firms and brawling behind? Hmm, you’ll have to see it to find out.
You can find this DVD for around 12 bucks online so it’s an amazing deal on such a surprisingly top quality movie watching experience. The DVD as a packaged deal isn’t much to brag about, but the movie makes up for any and all lacking in the extras department. That happens sometimes when you come across such a gem of a film. I just wish that the people who make these incredible “smaller” films would give us more behind the scenes. We get enough of the big Hollywood blockbuster making-of’s, we need to know how these lower budget, better quality movies struggle through the process and make it our comfy home theaters. All that aside, this is an addition to your collection you will be glad you got your hands on.
Overall Score 8/10