The Damned United
The Damned United – Movie Review
Taking over England’s top football club Leeds United, previously successful manager Brian Clough’s abrasive approach and his clear dislike of the players’ dirty style of play make it certain there is going to be friction. Glimpses of his earlier career help explain both his hostility to previous manager Don Revie and how much he is missing right-hand man Peter Taylor who has loyally stayed with Brighton & Hove Albion.
THE DAMNED UNITED is a story about what the Brits call football, but we call soccer, and the dreaded Leeds United, which has always been one of the top soccer teams in Britain and often wins everything but the European cup. It’s a story about somebody that I knew nothing about, but I suppose if you’re a Brit, you’d know about him. His name is Brian Clough, who was an upstart, who took the Derby team from the lowest in the second division to the top of the first division and ran afoul of the coach — the very successful coach from Leeds. So, when he took over, he was actually offered the job as the best, young coach in Britain. He made the mistake of going on television and badmouthing the old coach in saying that they were champions, but they cheated. Therefore, the champions should be heroes, not just win. Then, the team wouldn’t play for him. It’s actually a fascinating character study, with the wonderful Michael Sheen. This is his third collaboration with this director. He also did The Queen, for which he won a lot of awards, and Frost/Nixon, for which he also won a bunch of awards, which are justifiable. So, the two of them clearly have a rhythm with one another. This also has Colm Meaney, Jim Broadbent, and the wonderful Timothy Spall. This is a really wonderful movie. I don’t know that it’s going to do very well in the states because, one, the accents are a bit hard to hear and I’m not sure that we care a whole lot about British football, but it’s a wonderful movie. Five stars.