Sunday, October 29, 2006

Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!

Surely, the world is not meant for peace. There is no beauty in violence, and there should not be; violence is pure. It is intrinsic in everyone, whether we seek to quash it through study and high intellect. We are born with violence, and we look for ways to minimize it in a superficially civil world.

People are afraid for its glorification. Blood, toil, tears, sweat; all testify to pride and effort. Why should it not be held up in the highest esteem, when violence has borne us so much of the world? The Roman Empire would have never existed; France would have never had its revolution; America would have never had its country; the Catholic Church would have never risen to preeminence. And yet it is shunted, not brought out to the open for its dark influence. Wars have been fought and wars have been lost, and violence still lives on.

We can debate on the matters of pretty speech, but we can never debate on the matters of violence; all violence is sincere. It does not hesitate to express, whatever the emotion behind it. It is never tentative or hesitant. It is there for all to see, and words fail even at that. With words, there are lines to be read, inflections to be analyzed.

It is this world that we are introduced to in "Green Street Hooligans", where the passion of the football firms are brought to somewhat blinding light. Pete Dunham (Charlie Hunnam) is the leader of the Green Street Elite, the proud football firm of West Ham United, and it is his task to bring his firm back to its old glory days. Ex-Harvard student Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood) is compellingly drawn into this mindset, and discovers just how things are started and ended with fists.

Noble savages are the characters not; yet theirs is a morality that they do not question, and they legislate accordingly. Whoever breaks the code is singled out for punishment. They do not pretend to love anything but the tiniest excuse to break out in fisticuffs; Pete, particularly, is pushed around by no one and led by his passion and pride. Matt is astonished and elated at his first proper introduction to a fight. The violence shocks, but not surprisingly so.

Violence never changes, but the film attempts to give it one last honor: validation. Despite its sketchiness and gray area regarding this, the ending is a bit contrived, but nonetheless shows the viewers why some lessons are best learned in blood.

The world is touched by violence. That is its birthright. There has been no golden age of peace, of unity, that had been brought up and torn down by dissent and blood. In its own way, "Green Street Hooligans" shows us that there is no redemption in violence, a tangible reminder that oftentimes life is not bound to such lofty ideals. Peace will never exact the terrible price of violence, but it is borne of it. And thus we are left to ponder on the minutiae of life.

*image from here