Quick Review: The Damned United

With the World Cup taking place, I picked up The Damned United which chronicles a short period in the life of enigmatic British soccer manager Brian Clough. Troubles ensue when Clough becomes manager of Leeds United, the dominant team at the time. The 2009 film features Michael Sheen (of playing Tony Blair fame) who plays Brian Clough.

Quick thoughts:

1. I enjoyed the film. I thought the story was compelling and sufficiently deviated from the typical sports film where a misfit coach joins a misfit team and they magically come together to win a championship.The story involves a number of flashbacks that reveal how Clough came to be Leeds’ manager.

2. Clough and his managing partner, Peter Taylor, have a well-played “buddy” relationship.

3. After watching, I went online to find more information about Clough. According to the Wikipedia entry for the film, the movie plays fast and loose with Clough’s real story. This may be due to the fact that the film is based on a fictionalized novel of the same name written about Clough. Clough’s family apparently boycotted the film and others in England were not pleased.

4. Since I liked the film yet found out the real story was not quite what the movie portrayed, I feel somewhat cheated. I know films (and other media) often take “artistic license” but this film, in my opinion, went too far. In this case, real life was interesting enough without changing certain dimensions of the story.

(The film was well-received by critics: 114 reviews, 107 fresh/94% at Rotten Tomatoes.)