Director: Lexi Alexander
Starring: Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire
Forlani, Marc Warren, Leo Gregory
RunTime: 1 hr 49 mins
Released By: Shaw
Day: 12 January 2006
Expelled unfairly from Harvard, American Matt Buckner flees
to England to his sister's home. Once there, he is befriended
by her charming and dangerous brother-in-law, Pete Dunham,
and introduced to the underworld of British football hooliganism.
Matt learns to stand his ground through a friendship that
develops against the backdrop of this secret and often violent
undeniably is the best loved sport in the world. Fans of the
sport, regardless of loyalty, are able to speak the common
language of the game. While football fans are the most passionate
lot in the world, obsession has marred the beautiful game
from time to time. It is bad enough the authorities have to
deal with racism within the stadium, hooliganism has controlled
the world outside the stadium walls. This film is exactly
about that. Do not expect the magic of banana kicks or thunderous
volleys; prepare yourselves for blood, passion and grit.
from the prestigious Harvard University, journalism student
Matthew Buckner (Elijah Wood) decides to drop in on his sister
Shannon (Claire Forlani) in London, to stay for a while. Sent
by his brother-in-law, Steve, to watch a football match with
Steve’s younger brother, Petey Dunham (Charlie Hunnam),
Matthew soon discovers that there is more to supporting a
club than just singing songs. Driven by the adrenaline of
hooliganism, Matthew soon finds himself fitting in comfortably
with the GSE (Green Street Elite), led by Petey. Rising through
the ranks in a short time, his presence in the GSE, Matthew
gains notoriety as “The Yank” and the GSE finds
itself being restored to its prestigious days.
Hooligans also explore the trials and tribulations of running
and maintaining a firm, or to put it bluntly, a gang. In the
film, Petey explains to Matthew about how firms, like the
GSE for example, prove their support and allegiance to their
clubs. As the film progresses, the audience will understand
better how and why these firms exist, an area never fully
explore before in film.
from his stint as the cannibalistic Kevin in Sin City, Elijah
Wood visits the darker territory yet again in Matthew Buckner.
Appearing all naïve and innocuous for not trying to disprove
his wrongful expulsion by the university (they were his roommate’s
drugs, not his) in the beginning, Matthew’s gradual
metamorphosis into a rebel is just plain sinister. Elijah
Wood’s performance is top notch and he is very well
complemented by Charlie Hunnam who plays Petey, the young
leader of the GSE. This is very apparent when they engage
in banter like “it’s football not soccer”
and digs at other English clubs. Petey, appearing all brash
and gregarious in the beginning, ends up being the one with
a heart yet having to lead the GSE towards being the most
feared firm in England. Hunnam fits the cocky, confident and
charismatic Petey to a T. The acting by the supporting cast
is also commendable.
the clichéd love interest bit to distract Petey and/or
Matthew, the film moves at a linear pace, ensuring the message
is delivered straight to the point. The themes of family and
filling in others’ shoes play a major role in the climax
of the film in which the GSE and their bitter rivals from
the town of Millwall finally meet and clash. If you were impressed
by the blood play present in Quentin Tarantino’s films,
then you would love the constant flurry of blood throughout
the film. While Tarantino’s works were flashy and cool,
the blood seen in Football Hooligans is so real; you can feel
the iron searing your lips.
forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air,”
echoes throughout the stadium, pubs and streets of West Ham.
Songs as such are sung by football fans around England and
the world. And from now on, songs of praise shall be sung
of Football Hooligans, the film.
bloody and passionate look at hooliganism in the beautiful
by Mohamad Shaifulbahri