Monday, 7 June 2010

The Damned United (2009)

Synopsis: Based on the David Peace novel of the same name, this is the story of the 44 days that Brian Clough lasted as manager of Leeds Utd. Ups, downs and an ultimately warm tale of one man and his assistant coach.

Initially attracted to this film both for Sheen's impersonation of Clough and to listen to some of my favourite Clough-isms, I really enjoyed Tom Hooper's comedy drama. What's so good about it, is the relationship between Clough and Peter Taylor and how, without Taylor to assist at Leeds (and many other problems to boot), Clough comes unstuck. We see the tough talking, the hilarious one liners, the drinking and the ego. However, Michael Sheen still manages to create a warm, lively, honest character, one whose achievements can't be overstated and whose humanity can't be ignored.

Visually, the film is nicely photographed by Ben Smithard, with a nice '70s colour pallette but use of quite a few wide shots (many on wide angle lenses) for a reason I couldn't quite figure out. It gave the film a slightly gritty feel (maybe trying too hard to chime in with the feel of other film adaptations of David Peace works) that I don't think it really needed, as the story isn't about Clough's downfall as such, and includes much humour.

After watching the film, I sought out some of Brian Clough's TV appearances. Two of these appearances really stand out. The first is an almost 10 minute extract of an interview with John Motson. The interview is very uncomfortable, as Clough lays into Motson and what he sees as the problem with modern football analysis and TV punditry. He even namechecks Shirley Williams. Just brilliant.

The second video is of Brian Clough's meeting with Don Revie, the man that he had taken over from at Leeds Utd. The interview is portrayed in the film and I assumed it was not based on a real event, as it seems so set up. The TV meeting of these two men is fascinating, as it shows two rivals having an open, honest and electric debate. You just would not see anything like this on TV now. Incredible.

More info:

No comments:

Post a Comment