AAAHHH I forgot how much I like this movie. I just bought it off Amazon…but seriously there should be a special circle in hell reserved for people who sell used dvds with scratches. Those people suck. So I missed like two scenes in the middle where Matt is talking with his dad, but whatever.
This is a movie about English football (for the integrity of this post and because I studied abroad in England, I’m just going to refer to it as football from now on and everyone’s going to understand what I mean) and the ‘firms’ that support them. A firm is essentially a gang, and they fight other firms (that represent other teams). There was a hasty explanation on the tube from Pete (head of the firm) to Matt (noob yank) about how firms are different from gangs, basically saying that shooting someone with a gun from a moving car is pussy compared to beating people with your bare hands and bricks. Which is what A LOT of this movie is. So obviously I loved it. At first Matt is scared but in the best advice ever given, Pete instructs him to, “just think of someone you hate” and suddenly he is face-bashing with the best of ’em. (But the biggest flaw of this movie is asking the audience to see Elijah Wood as some hard fighter dude, he was much more believable as a hobbit).
Matt (Elijah Wood) is this normal American Harvard student who takes the fall for his coke addicted senator’s son roommate (we all know one of those right?) when the police search their room and find drugs. He gets kicked out of school two months shy of graduating and goes to England (with the 10,000$ bribe money) to see his long lost sister, Claire Forlani. (Seriously what happened to her? She’s so pretty in all these movies from the 90’s then poof! She disappears).
So he gets there and ends up hooking up with (clarification-I’m using this word the way my parents use it- ‘hooking up’ i.e. ‘meeting up with,’ not ‘sexual activity’) her husband’s younger brother Pete. Who looks like a hot british Channing Tatum if Channing Tatum were more attractive. Did I mention he’s hot? Yeah, well he is. (He’s single handedly making me want to start watching Sons of Anarchy, that hot). So Pete is this typical rowdy boyish British youth who loves football and is always looking for a fight. They (Matt and Pete) go to a football game and end up getting in a fight, and in true violent movie fashion, Matt gets hooked. They hang out more, it sort of becomes a thing.
Meanwhile, pretty Claire (Shannon? Sharon? It doesn’t really matter, her jawline’s the same) doesn’t like this at all and they have a few sibling fights during which it comes out that their mom is dead and she kind of fled the situation and moved to England. Also their dad is M.I.A (he’s a transvestite that likes to dress up as British/Sri Lankin musicians) jk lolz he’s missing from the picture because he’s a journalist and he’s on assignment in the Ivory Coast or Iowa or something.
It is important to mention two things, first that being a journalist in this particular circle is seen as being the devil, I’m not really sure why- I think because all the GSE (Green Street Elite- the name of their club/firm/gang) actions are reported badly in the local papers? Not quite sure, but journalists are referred to as ‘journos’ and this is clearly not an adorable nickname given out of endearment. Matt was a journalism major at Harvard and his dad is a journalist but the former part of that no one knows and he keeps that a secret. Also there’s a member of the GSE who really hates Matt right from the get go. His name is ‘Bovver’ -the whole time I thought I just couldn’t understand the name through the accents, but that really is his name- and he looks like a hot mouse I guess. He’s kind of being a sourpuss about the new american friend Pete has picked up and they tease him about it: when he’s late for a game Pete jokes that he has PMS, “Pre Match Stress.” But he actually really hates Matt and this is not good news in the end because he goes to the rival firm (Mill Wall to their West Ham) and basically stages a coup. Or tries to, but they knock him out with a beer bottle once they get what they want out of him (the Mill Wall blokes do this). Also it’s important to note that everything is ‘cunts’ this and ‘cunts’ that and I just had to make a concentrated effort to write ‘blokes’ instead of “Mill Wall cunts.”
Also important: It comes out that Pete’s older brother, Claire’s husband, Matt’s brother-in-law (you just gotta get it all out there) used to be the major of the GSE firm but the Mill Wall dude’s son died in one of their brawls and he felt responsible so he left and promised Claire he would never go back to that life. SO that Mill Wall dude really hates him because he holds him responsible for the death of his twelve year old son. Who he brought to street fights with grown men. All the time. Totally not responsible for any part of the death of his son.
So Mill Wall go into the GSE bar, torch it and stab the old major/brother/brother-in-law in the neck with a broken beer bottle. This is ‘really fucked’ clearly and they have to retaliate. (He’s fine by the way don’t worry). This results in this fucking ALL OUT BATTLE at the wharf (it’s always at the wharf) and Matt has this back and forth where Pete tells him to go back to America, that it’s not his fight, but Matt goes anyway in this show of solidarity, etc. Seriously between all the impromptu bloodbaths their friendship is adorable.
During this big ass fight between probably eighty men- Claire has decided that she needs to go retrieve her brother from this mess and she drives to the wharf WITH HER BABY !!!!!!!!! Who brings an infant to a street fight???? Claire Forlani apparently. But so, Matt has to protect her, and all this stuff happens and Pete gets killed. Which I honestly forgot when I watched this movie so I was freaking out. God it’s really intense. The fighting is so good.
But so Matt and Claire leave to go back to America, (the other best friend of Pete, Judas/Bovver, has avenged him sort of) and the last scene is this REALLY satisfying one where the douchebag roommate is at some restaurant with all his other rich privileged white lawyer friends and he goes in to the bathroom to do some coke (through a door marked ‘gentlemen’ which he is anything but) and Elijah meets him in there, then gets him to say it was his coke & he bribed him to take the fall on tape, then when the guy realizes this, he tries to take the tape and Matt/Elijah just physically dominates him. He doesn’t actually hit him but it’s pretty f’ing clear that he could massacre him then he leaves him cowering in the bathroom alone and the last last shot of the movie is Matt walking down the street out of the restaurant alone, singing the West Ham song and all these voices are singing it with him. Sweet.
If I take anything from this movie it’s that I want to learn how to head butt and marry a British dude.