REVIEW: The Damned United

12 05 2010

Really, there’s not too much wrong with “The Damned United.”  It’s just all too easy to be ambivalent about.

Michael Sheen really does give an admirable performance, and it’s the next step towards something that will gain some Academy attention.  Those who saw him in “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon” will probably notice that Sheen has been gradually upping his game.  If he keeps up this trend, he will be at Oscar level in a few years.

But for now, not even Sheen can make any part of “The Damned United” memorable.  The premise seems like it’s something that can really rile up some emotion: Brian Clough (Sheen) is a soccer coach who plays a game of honor, yet he has to put up with some dirty cheating players at his dream job coaching for Leeds United.  We see the mettle of Clough as he raises his Derby County team from the cellars of British soccer to playing with the league’s big dogs.

So it should be heartbreaking whenever the Leeds players disrespect him and refuse to acknowledge his role as their coach, right?  It isn’t.  The movie has no urgency, and no power to play up any sort of emotion.  It’s a breezy movie and easy to watch because of this, but I feel like it had the potential to really pack a punch.  However, “The Damned United” felt surprisingly coy with just providing an overview of the events.

So, if you happen to be looking for a movie that is good but doesn’t require you to turn on your brain, this could be just the right thing for you.  Don’t expect to be blown away, though.  Expect “good” and nothing more.  B /


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6 responses

12 05 2010
CMrok93

At one time this actually had a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and I was surprised like big time! I’m still waiting to see this.

13 05 2010
mcarteratthemovies

Ugh, the movies I’m ambivalent about are THE hardest to review!

13 05 2010
Marshall

Aren’t they the darnedest things? You can’t let it fall into the scathing review category where you just lash out at it, yet you can’t heap any significant amount of praise on it.

I think writing a review about movies I’m ambivalent about are just a smidgen harder than the ones I’m over the moon for. I struggle to put my love into words that accurately reflect how amazing the movie is.

Harsh reviews, on the other hand, are by far the easiest and the most fun to write. Before I went to Argentina in January, I forced myself to sit down and write enough content to fill the gap of my absence. I managed to crank out four absolutely scathing ones in the span of an hour.

25 05 2010
Branden

Big Mike recommended this movie to me. I saw it. I thought it was good as you said, but I thought what was point. I didn’t see the coach’s genius played out. That was kinda a let down.

22 01 2011
Dan

I really enjoyed this. It’s a romanticised version of the true events and Sheen is excellent. Clough was largely an unlikable character in real life so for the filmmakers to make him endearing is admirable.

22 01 2011
Marshall

I mean, it was a fine movie and I did like it. But it just didn’t do much for me. Hooper sure has come a long way in a year with “The King’s Speech.”

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