Published Sep 09, 2009I am not a soccer fan. Therefore, I know nothing about its history or the name of anyone who might be considered historically important to the sport's development. I am a fan of actor Michael Sheen though — always so charming with his curled lip when he's trying to look smooth.
I am also a fan of screenwriter Peter Morgan, whose work on both The Queen and Frost/Nixon was concise and cutting. And, after the monumental HBO miniseries John Adams, I am unquestionably a fan of series director Tom Hooper. Put all of these things together and I think you will definitely join me in becoming a fan of The Damned United.
The United are a top ranked soccer team from Leeds, which of course means that there they would be known as a football team. They are damned because of one man and his inability to see past his ego and need to prove to the world that he's the best there is at what he does.
Brian Clough is that one man (played by Sheen), who would coach and manage the Leeds United for a grand total of 44 days in 1974, after the previous coach, and Clough's arch nemesis, Don Revie (Colm Meaney) had played surrogate father to the team for a number of years prior. Clough's rivalry with Revie is so consuming it nearly costs him the game and by the game, I mean his happiness.
Far from suffering the same fate as the Leeds United, The Damned United has a leader with his eye on the ball. Hooper emerges as a director with great strength and visual restraint, and he leads his team to victory because, unlike his hero, he never forgets that it is not ever about him but rather it's always a team effort. (Mongrel Media)