At last a good film about football or a cinematic own goal? The next film up for discussion in The Independent Film Forum is The Damned United, adapted by Peter Morgan from David Peace's novel about Brian Clough's disastrous reign at Leeds United. Is old big 'ead an impersonation too far for Michael Sheen? Add your comments below and we'll print the best in the newspaper next week.
Here's a trailer...
The Independent's chief film reviewer Anthony Quinn, scored the film three out of five:
"This is the Life of Brian, and nobody else's. As such, it's never dull, and in many little details it's a back-of-the-net pleasure: I loved the moment Clough chests the ball, swivels and shoots while barely interrupting his latest monologue (Sheen was a useful footballer before he started acting) and there's a delightful sequence of him preparing the away team's dressing room, placing an orange – and an ashtray – by each player's towel. This scene has been rejected as inauthentic, but it feels right, and the laugh is irresistible. The mingling of contemporary match-footage and period recreation is also convincingly handled, even though I don't recall Tony Gubba commentating on quite so many football games as he does here.
What the film doesn't do is explain – anything. "I wouldn't say I'm the best manager in the country", Clough said famously, "but I'm in the top one". You could easily believe him, but you wouldn't understand why from watching this. And if he was the top one, how did he manage to fail so abjectly at Leeds? Damned if I know."Here is what James Lawton, The Independent's Chief Sports Writer, had to say about the film:
"Those who go to watch the film will see the cars, the hair, the wallpaper and the clothes in a way that no novel can possibly deliver. They will see, too, another masterful performance by Michael Sheen who, after taking on the role of Tony Blair in The Queen and David Frost in Frost/Nixon, turns in an uncanny performance as Clough. And they will get to relive the tale of Clough's brief reign at Leeds, without doubt one of the most dramatic of sporting tales. Yet the most fascinating facet of this film is that it provokes a whole series of intriguing questions. They spring from the line trodden between fact and fiction, a line that has prompted Nigel Clough, Brian's son, to publicly state that he won't be among the many thousands who will flock to see this sure-fire blockbuster. "
What did you think of the film? Have your say below...