The Damned United
December 13, 2009
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Peter Morgan once again crafts a script that is perfectly complimented by Michael Sheen’s performance. First with The Queen and then with Frost/Nixon, Sheen transforms himself seamlessly into his role. This time around however, the focus is with Sheen front and center, with a cast set-up to support him instead of the other way around.
The film is about Brian Clough, the man sent in to fill in for Don Revie, Leeds United best and most favorite coach. History tells us that he only lasted 44 days before he was replaced. But that isn’t the point of this film. This isn’t a film about soccer. This is about Clough’s accension from a sub-par team to the coach of his biggest rivals. The film thrives on exploring the dynamics between Clough and those around him. Especially the disrespect between Revie and Clough as goes from just another coach to beating Leeds and Revie.
Sheen is brilliant as Clough. Even during the closing credits, we see the actual Clough and realize just how accurate Sheen’s portrayal is. Unfortunately, this movie is not getting nearly the amount of attention it deserves. After seeing this film, I would absolutely put Sheen in the best actor category for the year-end awards. If you have any interest in historical films, this is definitely worth a watch (or two). The intelligence of this film is something truly brilliant. It refuses to talk down to its audience but it forces you to think. The mark of a great film. 5 out of 5 stars.