Green Street Hooligans

Rated NR

I’m not sure why this film didn’t get wide release and a lot of play: It stars Elijah Wood, has loads of stylized and well-choreographed violence, and its strong plotting and pacing sweep you right along to the very end. Maybe it’s because it presents violence as a complicated thing instead of as the solution to all our problems. Wood stars as Matt Buckner, a journalism student who moves to England when he gets kicked out of Harvard. Strangely linking up with a gang of soccer hooligans, he becomes a minor celebrity on the beatings-and-rioting circuit, finding in the kicking of human faces a quiet dignity and true source of self-worth. While it’s a little odd to see Frodo punching the daylights out of someone who made the mortal error of rooting for Manchester United, on the whole, this is a winning small film that explores both the upside and the downside to violence and ends with a kind of moral ambiguity that’s both confusing and satisfying.

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