The Damned United (15)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Mar 24 2009

Admirers of David Peace’s novel will notice a friendlier approach to Brian Clough in this version. Written by Peter Morgan, it stars his muse Michael Sheen as the gobby manager who triumphed at Derby County before failing to fill the shoes of new England boss Don Revie in charge of Division One flash boys Leeds United in 1974. Gone are the paranoid, booze-drenched first-person screeches of Peace to be replaced with a simplified and kinder twin focus on Clough’s reliance on his assistant Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall) and his manic obsession with Revie (Colm Meaney).There are hints of ‘Frost/Nixon’: Clough calls Revie in the night, while their rivalry culminates in a televisual face-off. Peace/Morgan is an equivalent showdown: how can Morgan, a writer who injects fiction into reality, improve on Peace, whose daring extends to imagining 1970s Yorkshire as a noir hell in his ‘Red Riding’ books? In simplifying Peace, Morgan clips his own wings.

Director Tom Hooper, known for small-screen triumphs like ‘Longford’, must squeeze from scant resources a sense of both the epic – ie the football – and the period, which, with its tatty stadiums, was decidely non-epic. He’s better at the latter, although a witty script helps plug the gaps. At best, Hooper follows a match entirely from the perspective of the dressing room. At worst, he has to make archive footage work so hard it upstages his drama. He’s blessed with character turns: Sheen is cheeky and likeable, while Jim Broadbent’s Derby chairman is deliciously old-school. The biggest failure is the film’s portrayal of the Leeds team: the oddly-coiffured lads are never more than a unit and the calamity of Clough’s time in charge too much of a given.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Mar 27, 2009

Duration:

97 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Tom Hooper

Screenwriter:

Peter Morgan

Cast:

Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Jim Broadbent

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|18
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Tim

I really hate football - but enjoyed this film - havent read the book so cannot comment on authenticity but if I wanted that I'd have watched a documentary instead. I remember Clough from news at the time, and think this film went a long way to try and point out the flawed genius of the man and the performances were superb. Worth watching just to get away from the current genre of hyped up American blockbusters

eAyeAddio

An enjoyable film, but don't go if you expect accuracy. It isn't supposed to be accurate. it's a film and reality is suspended until the movie is over. Sheen is excellent, Spall less so, and the Leeds team was poorly cast. Clough is represented as a much nicer person than he was in reality, so his family have no reason to diss this film. You won't be wasting your time watching this film, but don't come away thinking you have learned anything new about Clough, Leeds or 70s football, because you won't.

mcnola

Delightful period piece, dare I say, a minor British classic about 1970's English football. My wife could not give a toss about footie and she enjoyed this character study greatly. Time Out frequently over-hypes the British film and has definitely UNDER-rated this one. As a loyal Brit, I am beseeching everyone to please buy a ticket and honour this labour of love.

Josh

Brilliant film, showing the true legend which is brain clough. 5 Stars

Josh

Brilliant film, showing the true legend which is brain clough. 5 Stars

karen

I have to say it was a really enjoyable film, Why are people going on about the accuracy? Were they there ? Did they live with Brian? What does it matter ! it was very good film with a good 70's feel to it. I'd recommend it to everyone .

karen

I have to say it was a really enjoyable film, Why are people going on about the accuracy? Were they there ? Did they live with Brian? What does it matter ! it was very good film with a good 70's feel to it. I'd recommend it to everyone .

bob

It is slightly unaccurate in one or two things but for me I just enjoyed watching the film. Eddie Gray was in the cinema when I watched it and he said he liked the film.Dont read too much into it, if you love football you will love this film.

bob

It is slightly unaccurate in one or two things but for me I just enjoyed watching the film. Eddie Gray was in the cinema when I watched it and he said he liked the film.Dont read too much into it, if you love football you will love this film.

Martin Peters

A film worth seeing with good reference to the 1970's Leeds United team with intertwined footage from the era of which I remember fondly. Good photography and sourced locations. Its great to see a British film filmed here in Yorkshire with the aid of Yorkshire Screen commmission dased in Leeds. The Leeds team I felt was badly cast with wooden acting and again Timothy Small as Taylor was a faux paux and lamentable. A great actor in other ventures/films.Sheen as Clough was excellent. NOT at all accurate and a contoversial film especially with the Clough Estate. However enjoyable and worth seeing as a chronicle of the times! 6/10

Martin Peters

Not a bad film purely on the nostalgia evoked from the Leeds United 1970's of which I was part of and remember. Good photography and pace interlinked with footage from that era. The casting of the teams involved was poor and wooden acting. Innacurate totally but good to see a British film being produced in Yorkshire with Yorkshire screen Commission. Good locations and Good accent and persona of Brian Clough by Sheen. Timothy Small did not work for me in the role of Taylor at all lamentable. Although a good actor in other films. 6/10 on this one ENJOYABLE WORTH A VIEWING!

Sutton

An amusing and enjoyable film, irrespective of whether you follow football. Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall are excellent, as indeed are a nukmber of the supporting actors. I'm not convinced by the players of Leeds, but on the whole a good film and well worth seeing. Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles did not look like that!

Sutton

An amusing and enjoyable film, irrespective of whether you follow football. Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall are excellent, as indeed are a nukmber of the supporting actors. I'm not convinced by the players of Leeds, but on the whole a good film and well worth seeing. Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles did not look like that!

seghlawi

Was absolutely the best film I have seen in ages, if you liked 'life on mars' you will absolutely love this even if you do not like football or even know who Brian Clough was. Sheen creates his own brillant charachter. Seg

seghlawi

Was absolutely the best film I have seen in ages, if you liked 'life on mars' you will absolutely love this even if you do not like football or even know who Brian Clough was. Sheen creates his own brillant charachter. Seg