Telling with a light, surefooted touch a legendary tale from British soccer history, The Damned United reps the latest collaboration in factual fiction between chameleon thesp Michael Sheen, screenwriter Peter Morgan and producer Andy Harries ("Frost/Nixon," "The Queen").
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The rare sports movie that deals with -- indeed positively relishes -- humiliation and disappointment.
It's a classic and even charming yarn of vanity, hubris and redemption, played out against the bizarre, intense alternate universe of '70s English soccer.
More Eurocentric but quite enjoyable, even for those of us who don’t follow British “football.”
Hardly the heady stuff of "Frost/Nixon"--or then again, maybe exactly the same thing. This one’s more rude and fun.
Director Tom Hooper ("John Adams") ably balances the games (surprisingly little football footage, actually), the personalities and the drama.
What's lost in translation is recovered easily enough in Michael Sheen's astonishing performance as Clough.
Meaney’s Flintstone-ian brute makes a terrific foil to Sheen’s prissy arrogance, but the other supporting players don’t make much of an impression. Ditto for this slice of history itself, though mileage may vary for soccer fans.
Sheen thrives in the guise of the idiosyncratic Clough in a brilliantly candid, if bitty, football parable.