It’s not so terrible I can bash it or so amazing I can praise it. It was good but all very much made of nothing. Unfortunately, and ultimately this is a fault of the ﬁlm, I’m keenly aware that this movie wasn’t made for me. If you’re a big football nut then you’ll probably like it. If you’re Irish and interested in a little slice of your culture and history, you’ll probably like it. If you’re Irish, interested in a little slice of your culture and history and you’re a big football nut then maybe this is the greatest movie ever made, I don’t know, but I don’t think you’ll love this movie unless at least some of that is true.
The drama of game isn’t quite captured here and despite a handful of good gags the comedy largely falls ﬂat as well, though I’d say it’s still where the ﬁlm looks to be the most comfortable and a little more emphasis here would have been the way to go. The ensemble cast, another thing that’s tricky to pull off, actually does work really well, there’s no weak link with I think Jackie Fullerton (Conleth Hill - 'Game of Thrones') being the highlight for me, and the cast as a whole do a great job of constructing their own sympathies without pulling focus so that the various plot threads sync together nicely. It’s just I wasn’t all that interested in any of them.
This ﬁlm is a whole lot of nothing really happening, we have Campbell joining the team and the lead up to his ﬁrst ever match for his country, and although he mopes about a bit because he can’t get the managers attention straight away he pretty much ﬁts in and we don’t spend enough time with him to really feel his angst. Even if you don’t know the story in advance it’s clear that he’ll eventually be allowed to play otherwise what’s the point... In addition whilst Ireland in the eighties is a fascinating backdrop for any story the ﬁlm clearly doesn’t want to be about that and so never commits to any kind of political or philosophical thinking despite how much it insists that it’s making a statement in the third act.
See this review on The Fan Carpet.
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