Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Marc Warren

QuickView: Green Street (2005)

“You don’t run, not when you’re with us… You stand your ground and fight!”

Pete Dunham

That it remains relevant fifteen years on is a testament to Green Street‘s position as a quintessential film about football hooliganism; sadly, that doesn’t make it a good film. Its biggest stumbling blocks are front and centre, in the awful casting of its leads: Elijah Wood, keen to shed his gentle Frodo Baggins image by throwing a few punches, is woefully unconvincing as a wannabe thug, whilst Charlie Hunnam’s laughable East London accent is a constant distraction. On its release the film was criticised for glorifying violence, which I am certain was never the filmmakers intention but rather an unfortunate byproduct. Early on an adrenaline-fuelled enjoyment of the fight is necessary to understand how an ex-Harvard student is drawn to a crowd so unlike him. However, the way these fights are shot remains largely the same as the fim progresses. In some scenes, like a cafe altercation, the camera does linger on the aftermath, but in general we see little of the impact on the general public. Nor do we see the socioeconomic inflences or family dynamics of members of the “firm” other than the leads’ siblings, whose actions are illogical plot contrivances that swiftly shed sympathy. Bovver was a missed opportunity — he is a more nuanced character but his arc is tied to guilt over betraying his friends rather than his motivations for joining. Green Street can be enjoyable in its awfulness, but its pretentions at a deeper exploration of hooliganism never break the surface.

4/10

QuickView: The Principles of Lust (2003)

The Principles of Lust poster

“Without comparison, everything loses its meaning.”

Billy

For a critic, those words — repeated twice — ring loudly: no art can be reviewed in isolation. Yet there is a clear danger in applying this mantra to life and relationships, as Paul finds himself encouraged to do by his new friend Billy. At first Billy appears to be pure id and Marc Warren portrays him as animalistic, revelling in the brutality of blood-soaked boxing children, but without the charm of Fight Club‘s Tyler Durden. As a result, whilst Paul’s fascination is understandable, his continuous return to Billy’s orbit is not, since this is not enjoyable hedonism. Fittingly, like Shame, the film’s frequent nudity tends to be shot either clinically or in hurried urgency, rather than to arouse. Sienna Guillroy provides notable depth to Paul’s conflicted girlfriend, who could easily have been a one-note supporting character. Ultimately, like Paul, this lo-fi British drama struggles to express itself, making its foray into vice and anachronistic portrayal of an idle writer on the dole feel exploitative rather than revealing any greater truth.

5/10

"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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