Thursday, April 1, 2010
The Damned United - My Review
It seems like Michael Sheen is everywhere right now! He's in the ever pop culturally present Twilight franchise as Aro, the super baddie vampire. I've seen him on a bunch of talk shows recently promoting his small role as the White Rabbit in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. He was amazingly fabulous in a two episode stint on this season of 30 Rock as Liz Lemon's "Future Husband" - a daffy, delightful storyline that I wish had gone on longer. Frost/Nixon has been playing a lot on cable and he can be spotted in the new trailer for Disney's highly anticipated Tron Legacy. Plus, I follow him on twitter where lately he's been tweeting links to music he loves (The Specials, Roy Orbison, Son House, The Duke Spirit). Then my boyfriend and I netflixed a British football (soccer) film called The Damned United and guess what? Michael Sheen is the star.
Not only is he the star of The Damned United he is absolutely brilliant in it playing notorious British football manager Brian Clough with a mix of arrogance and earnestness and a glint in his eye. The movie was not at all what I expected it to be. It's not a "thrill of the game" sports movie, there aren't a lot of scenes even filmed on the pitch. It's a behind the scenes film about what is involved when a sports manager runs a successful (or struggling) team: the money, the politics, the team owners, the players, the media. In fact, if I had to categorize this film at all I would call it a love story. The film centers around Brian Clough's relationship with his assistant manager and best friend, Peter Taylor, played by the always excellent Timothy Spall. Their relationship is loving and mutually beneficial, until it isn't. When their relationship sours, your heart breaks for them, and you keep watching in anticipation to see if they will get back together.
With a wonderfully sharp script by Peter Morgan that takes a convoluted sports story and focuses it in on the human relationships within that world, The Damned United was a pleasure to watch.