The Damned United – Movie Review (2018 FIFA World Cup™ Special Series)

Group G

russiawc2018

Info

Country: England
Original Title: The Damned United
Director: Tom Hooper
Release: 2009
Genre: Biography, Sports
IMDb | Rotten Tomatoes
The Damned United

The.Damned.United.09

World Cup Historic

The World Cup has begun with a surprise 5-0 win of the hosts Russia against Saudi Arabia. While hoping to have many positive surprises, we keep going with the reviews.

NIKE 2018-2019 England Home Football Shirt

The Three Lions, with Scotland, is the first national team in history. The two teams played the first international game ever, a 0-0 draw, on 30 November of 1872.

The British, including Irish, Welsh, and Scottish, were the ones responsible for spreading the football around the globe, but unfortunately, they didn’t translate the pioneering in success.

From the British Islands, however, England was the most successful so far and is the only present in the current World Cup, after the shameful robbing of Northern Ireland in the qualification.

In 1950 was the first England participation with only a win against Chile. They also played in 1954, 1958 and 1962 before 1966, when they hosted and won the title.

The Russia World Cup will be the 14th English participation, with the best records being the aforementioned title and a fourth place in 1990.

England’s current squad is second youngest of the tournament, with an average of 26 years old. Only four players were born before 1990, Gary Cahill, Fabian Delph, Ashley Young and Jamie Vardy.

Some people joke that Spurs’ Harry Kane is the only England player, and Kane is definitely the best, but not the only one with quality. The squad is full of young and promising talent.

With Panama and Tunisia, Group G is quite weak so we can see England reaching at least Round of 16 with ease, and to be honest, even Quarter-Finals is completely doable.

Prelude

The Damned United tells the story of the manager Brian Clough until he was sacked from Leeds United.

Brian Clough born on 21 March 1935, Middlesbrough. He was a footballer and later a manager, considered by many to be the best English coach in history.

He was the popular choice for manager of the National Team but that never happened, making him known as “greatest manager England never had”.

Sport. Football. England. 1980. Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough with the European Cup trophy.
Sport, Football, England, 1980, Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough with the European Cup trophy (Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

Peter Taylor born on 2 July 1928, Nottingham. Taylor was a goalkeeper and manager, worked with Brian Clough as his assistant manager for a good portion of their careers.

Clough’s and Taylor’s careers are very closely associated and are very hard to talk about one without talking about the other. The movie is no different, and we could say it’s a love story about the two, or a “bromance” like some say.

The two met each other and became close while playing for Middlesbrough, where both played from 1955 to 1961 and when Clough began his career as manager of Hartlepools United, he called Taylor to invite him to be his assistant.

Sport. Football. pic: circa 1980. Peter Taylor, Nottingham Forest Assistant Manager (who had a successful career at
Sport, Football, pic: circa 1980, Peter Taylor, Nottingham Forest Assistant Manager (who had a successful career at “Forest” working with the Manager Brian Clough) (Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

They coached Hartlepools United from 1965 to 1967 and then joined Derby County in May 1967. Hartlepools United is now called Hartlepool United F.C. and is in the fifth tier of the English football pyramid.

With Derby, they went from Second Division (now Championship) in 1967-68 to winning the First Division (today Premier League) in the 1971-72 Season.

After having problems with Derby County directors, the two left the club and went to Brighton & Hove Albion in 1973, but not long after, Clough left again, but this time without Peter Taylor.

The Brian Clough statue which stands in Albert Park, Middlesbrough.
The Brian Clough statue which stands in Albert Park, Middlesbrough. (Photo by Anthony Winward)

Clough had a short spell with Leeds, being sacked in 1974 after only eight games. Next year found a new job, reunited with Peter Taylor for Nottingham Forest.

The duo worked at Nottingham Forest until 1982, when Taylor left for Derby County. Taylor resigned in early 1984 and retired. Clough remained at Forest until 1993 winning several titles until the end of his career.

Before finishing the Prelude, since we are talking about Leeds United, I wanted to share here one of the best memories I have and involve Leeds United:

The Damned United

The English director Tom Hopper is now famous for the Oscar-winning movies The King’s Speech, Les Misérables and The Danish Girl, but before all that, there was The Damned United.

Michael Sheen as Brian Clough and Timothy Spall as Peter Taylor in the portraying of the duo’s history from Derby County to Leeds United. The two veteran actors do an exceptional job, as usual.

The acting is one of the strong points of this movie, with experienced great actors like Colm Meaney as Don Revie and Jim Broadbent as Derby chairman, Sam Longson.

Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall) and Brian Clough (Michael Sheen) The.Damned.United.10
Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall) and Brian Clough (Michael Sheen)

The movie begins with Clough arriving at the Leeds stadium with his kids and from there, the story is told non-linearly, going back and forth from Derby to Leeds.

I like football, and most of the time, my TV keeps on sports channels. While discussing Football, from time to time, my favorite commentators mention The Damned United as a great movie.

The Clough family, however, didn’t like much. It felt like the way the movie was presented wasn’t accurate, just like Pablo Escobar’s son felt about the series Narcos.

Narcos was fucking amazing and The Damned United is great as well. It doesn’t mind when movies don’t present the stories absolutely accurate, I’m completely fine with artistic liberties.

The.Damned.United.03

The recreation of a Football of the past is amazing. I know I was born long after the things portrayed in the film, even my mother wasn’t born, but I felt nostalgic anyway.

I absolutely loved the cinematography, possibly the best of the movies I already reviewed and I think it’s a very underrated movie, in this aspect and in general.

The only thing I didn’t like much is how the movie is rushed and short. With only 1 hour and 38 minutes, the movie cover just a few of Clough’s career and even what we have is way too brief.

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Brian Clough (Michael Sheen) and Don Revie (Colm Meaney)

For example, during Derby’s campaign for promotion, we only see the table and Derby going from the bottom to the top. Nothing is shown beside that, no game, not even the key ones.

The same can be said by Derby’s campaign for the first division title, with the only difference that we have brief images of the matches against Leeds. However, I considered it minor flaws.

It’s clear I liked the movie and as I mentioned earlier the other, more acclaimed Tom Hopper movies, “The Damned United” to me is only bested by “The King’s Speech” and deserved 8 Moons.

(I was uploading a gallery with some good stills of The Damned United, but with constant errors, I will try again in another opportunity.)

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Author: Marlon Santos

Random guy who loves movies and series, among other things.

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