The Damned United review

Regardless of the level of your interest in the sport, Brian Clough transcended the popularity of football and was an interesting, outspoken character in his own right; a perfect subject for a film. The biographical Damned United isn’t really about football; the short period of Clough’s career supplies the backdrop for a character study of a determined and obsessive man.

And, as you would expect, Michael Sheen captures him well. This isn’t his best performance, but that isn’t saying too much; his talent always shines through and he is deservedly flavour-of-the-moment although I’m looking forward to seeing him in more high-profile purely fictional roles. He is well supported by other Brit-favourites; Timothy Spall, Jim Broadbent and That Dude From Star Trek.

As always, there’s no messing about with Peter Morgan’s conservative but solid script and Tom Hooper’s direction is perfectly suited, capturing the North of the 1970’s with atmospheric shots of working class streets and ragged football stadiums complete with dank locker rooms and flimsy wooden stands. I certainly don’t remember any of his episodes of Byker Grove being this interesting.

3 out of 5

5th Apr 2009