Ultimately, Diego Maradona is about the corrupting influence of exceptionalism – swept into the game and made financially responsible for his family at 15, the arrested development Maradona suffers is writ large and ultimately leads to his downfall.
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Kapadia’s tight focus and compelling viewpoint make “Diego Maradona” a must-see for soccer fans, and certainly a biographical doc of interest to wider audiences.
You couldn’t ask for a better match between filmmaker and subject.
Even with an abrupt ending and the sense of unfinished business, Diego Maradona is more satisfying than Kapadia’s previous work.
I found myself gripped by a universally accessible tale of a divided soul – a figure whose dual personas are embodied in the two names of the film’s title; Diego and Maradona.
It’s a heady, engrossing, indulgently sprawling profile of a modern athlete in all his glory and contradiction, but it’s also a film that leaves you with more questions than it should.
Kapadia’s film is a gripping account of Maradona’s playing career until the mid-90s, though it is flawed by a lack of new material of the sort he had for his previous film about Amy Winehouse.
Diego Maradona has the football and the drugs – think Scarface with screamers – but it’s a surprisingly emotional ride too. In the spirit of all good docs, it’ll make you reappraise your feelings about the man and the myths around him.
Indeed, this is not just a sporting film but, like Amy or Senna, a film about the volatility of fame and genius and what those two things can do to humans. An interest in the game is probably as essential here as an interest in Formula 1 was for Senna. Which is to say: not a lot.
The director's latest rise-and-fall chronicle suffers from a few structural problems that did not bedevil Senna or Amy. Most obviously, the subject is still very much alive, which may explain why this officially endorsed film feels more cautious and compromised than it might have been.