‘The Damned United’

Posted by · 11:51 am · March 9th, 2009

In a recent interview, Michael Sheen bristles at being labelled an impressionist. Understandably so — he’s a fine actor. However, the answer may be to stop doing quite so many biopics of figures from recent British history: so far, we’ve had Tony Blair (twice), David Frost, Kenneth Williams and now Brian Clough, the controversial British football manager whose brief, ill-fated attempt at heading up Leeds United in 1974 is the subject of “The Damned United,” which drops in the UK on March 27.

Originally developed with Stephen Frears but now helmed by TV journeyman Tom Hooper (“John Adams”), the film also represents yet another dip into fact-oriented waters for writer Peter Morgan — another talented man who I’d like to see try his hand at something different. The trailer below looks jaunty and entertaining enough (though I don’t see the heavily football-steeped story resonating much across the pond), but am I the only one feeling a bit of déjà vu?

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7 responses so far

  • 1 3-10-2009 at 2:03 am

    Chris said...

    It just sounds like one of those films that are worth watching, but which aren’t really interesting after all. Like “Frost/Nixon”. Or “The Queen”.

  • 2 3-10-2009 at 8:31 am

    Alfredo said...

    As a Latin american it would be interesting to me because here “soccer” is a important sport, but I don’t think it would appeal to north americans.

  • 3 3-10-2009 at 2:35 pm

    Chad said...

    It’s up to me to make the greatest soccer film of all time. When “Victory” is the current benchmark, you know a genre needs help.

  • 4 3-10-2009 at 2:51 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Go for it, Chad! It’s a lean genre, to be sure, but I’d venture both “Fever Pitch” (1997) and “Bend It Like Beckham” are better films than “Victory.” And if we can stretch (dubiously, I admit) to “Gregory’s Girl,” then it’s no contest.

    As an actual portrait of the sport, of course, “Zidane” is hard to beat.

  • 5 3-10-2009 at 4:52 pm

    Chris said...

    It’s not going to be the greatest soccer film. If anything it’s going to be the greatest football film.

  • 6 3-10-2009 at 5:39 pm

    BurmaShave said...

    Regardless of its eventual quality, I’m looking forward to it. And it has the best title of any film this year.

  • 7 3-11-2009 at 10:01 am

    Chad said...

    Zidane is a perfect film, you’re right. As for narratives, “Gregory’s Girl” can’t compete with the one scene from “Kes” with the gym teacher.