As one of the privileged few who saw the world premiere at SXSW (even badge holders were turned away), Hooligans is sure to be one of the most talked about films of the year.
Lexi Alexander, who, according to her Q&A answers at the premiere, grew up amongst the type of men depicted in Hooligans. The choice to use an American as a central character was deliberate, to quickly get into the story and see the lifestyle from an outsider's perspective.
As a wrongfully expelled Harvard student, Matt (Elijah Wood) decides to stay with his sister in England, and is reluctantly befriended by his brother in law's brother Pete (Charlie Hunnam). Wood deftly plays the passive introvert ripe for the seduction of group-bonding violence Hunnam's charismatically surly Pete, who introduces him to football (aka soccer) and the 'firms' who are known for their violence against rival teams' fans.
Without glorifying the violence, fully realized and likable characters explore how easily someone can be drawn into hooliganism. Instead of using broad strokes, Alexander demonstrates through Matt how even the most unlikely people get caught up in mob mentality and violence, through the bonds of friendship and belonging.
With an edgy soundtrack and strong performances, Hooligans leaves a lasting impression.