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.

Rating: ***1/2


About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on November 9, 2009, in 2009, Biopic, Drama, Sports and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the shout out, sorry you didn’t enjoy the movie too much.

  2. I actually want to see this the premise looks interesting, too many sports films are centered around the underdog winning, a film going the other direction is a nice change. I just hope it’s not too boring.

  3. I really loved this movie. But I had read the book a couple of years before it was even announced it was going to be made into a movie. I am a huge football (soccer) fan so already knew loads of things about Brian Clough.

    So maybe if you dont have as much background knowledge it is more difficult to enjoy?

    • Reading the book before watching the movie may work, but I doubt it if the movie doesn’t highlight what he had done to make his Britain’s most famous soccer coach.

  4. Nice review. I really enjoyed it.

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