The Damned United (2009)
Things are going to be a little different around here… without Don.
— Brian Clough
The Damned United was not on my radar whatsoever. I never heard of the film until Mike from Big Mike’s Movie Blog reviewed it. I heard that people were digging this movie. Typically, I don’t like sports films, especially soccer. This movie tries to delve into the genius of England’s greatest soccer coach, Brian Clough, but it barely scratches the surface.
In July 1974, Leeds United fail to make the World Cup that year. The most successful manager of the club’s history, Don Revie (Colm Meaney) leaves his post to manage English National Football Team. His successor is the opinionated Brian Clough (Michael Sheen), who has some choice words about Leeds in the past. His new team does not like the new guy.
The action flashes back six years earlier, the days that he was with a fledging team of Derby County with his assistant manager Pete Taylor (Timothy Spall). During random drawing of which teams would square off, second division Derby is selected to play first division Leeds. The Derby team is humiliated by a loss when Leeds team implements dirty tactics to win their games.
This begins a rivalry between the two clubs. If Derby wants to be the best, they have to beat the best by any means necessary. Brian wants to have a player that could help them reach the top of the second division. The management goes with the over the hill, Dave Mackay (Brian McCardie). This swift action causes strife with chairman of the team, Sam Longson (Jim Broadbent).
His new strategy works as the club move up the second division to capture the cup. The nation takes notice about his accomplishment. Revie wants to humiliate Clough as much as he can.
Michael Sheen gave a very good performance in this movie. Some parts of the movie were very good with the self-realization that we good. I wish that the movie focused more on that. It mainly focused on Clough’s obsession with getting back at Revie. When the movie was over, I thought, “That’s it.” It felt like a hanging chad.
Judgment: There is a good movie here. You have to fish for it.