Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

The Damned United

The Damned United is the best football novel I have ever read. It's by David Peace who wrote the Red Riding books. The film 'The Damned United' is the best football movie I have ever seen, and it was a good film, but it isn't as complex as the novel. It's almost feelgood (!) I would recommned the film to anyone who likes football, or remembers those days with interest. I don't think I'd necessarily recommend it to Americans and girly types who dislike football :-)

Having said that it does go to quite a lot of trouble to make the plot comprehensible to people who don't understand the sport, and the complex character development is turned into something which makes sense 'in movie terms' - a three-way relationship between Clough, Don Revie and Peter Taylor, with the footballers as sort of big thick evil angels.

Michael Sheen is an actor I like a lot, because he reads a lot of the poetry I listen to on my i-Pod. He's incredibly talented. He gives a very well-judged performance as Brian Clough. The book is all about Clough's complex character: brilliant, vain, vulnerable, feminine, self-destructive, super-brainy, idealistic, insane etc. At least some of this nuance is transmitted in the film. Lots of his swearing, but very little of his hard drinking (which eventually destroyed him) is retained in the film.

Most of the actors give a good impression of the well-known characters they are playing, including Colm Meaney as Don Revie, Clough's arch-nemesis. The exception is Tim Spall who can not be made to look anything like Peter Taylor, Clough's long suffering sidekick. Unusually for a film he is uglier than the real life person he's playing. But then Spall is such a brilliant actor, and there's not much you can do about that face.

Made me laugh, made me remember the days of Billy Bremner and filthy football. Made me miss Clough, the best England manager never given the job.

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ETA - I meant also to say that H is pleased because they used the Saltergate stadium in Chesterfield to film all the football scenes. He tells me they used inflatable fans to fill the back rows, and used real Chesterfield fans as extras in the front.
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