In The Hands of the Gods

Movies
2 out of 5 stars

This is an agreeable, if morally ambiguous, little documentary covering the unlikely story of five plucky football freestylers (that’s keepy-uppy experts to you and me) from various UK locations who decide to meet up and busk their way across the US to meet Argentinean football ace, Diego Maradona.

It’s all fairly innocuous for the first half-hour which consists mainly of choppily-edited montages set to the standard throng of feel-good pop anthems. It’s bizarre, though, that as soon as the conceptual weakness starts to shine through (as well as the fact that its episodic structure would have been better suited to TV), a series of deeply implausible twists begin to occur which drag the film into an altogether darker domain. By the time they’ve got as far as Mexico City, it turns out that they’ve only made enough money for two of them to advance any further, and just as you’re waiting to hear the inevitable sermonising about ‘teamwork’, ‘friendship’ and ‘sticking together’, they’re drawing lots to see who stays and who goes. The film’s teary-eyed conclusion is clearly intended to have you punching the air in elation, but the message it delivers will actually leave you feeling quite cold.

By: David Jenkins

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