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Things are going to be a little different around here... without Don.,
This review is from: The Damned United [DVD]  (DVD)
A look at Brian Clough's 44-day reign as the coach of Leeds United.
The Damned United is an adaptation from David Peace's 2006 novel of the same name, a novel that although hugely popular and garnered critical acclaim, was altered in certain events so as to avoid libel issues from players and Clough's family alike. With that knowledge in mind, Tom Hooper's film about the battered mind of Brian Clough (Michael Sheen practically getting it down pat) during his 44 days in charge of Leeds United in 1974 (after inheriting the job from his hugely successful nemesis, Don Revie), has to be taken with a little pinch of salt. But that doesn't make this a bad film, because somewhat surprisingly, it's a very good one, in fact it's one of the better sports movies to have come out of Britain for some time.
Hooper and screenwriter Peter Morgan have wisely kept the on pitch action to a minimum, this is after all about a football man, not a film about football. Weaving the story of Clough's rise up the management ladder with his success at Derby County-with his egotistical and revenge fuelled tenure as Leeds boss-works a treat. It's a nice way to format the story, as is the fact that the film is told from the perspective of Cloughie himself. We are left in no doubt about what drives Clough on, and it's very refreshing that the special relationship that Clough had with his assistant Peter Taylor (imothy Spall) is formed and is obviously crucial to the story. However, if hampered with legal constraints or merely not enough time to cram it all in? Hooper's picture doesn't quite win the match outright as regards Cloughie's mania and fears. But he was such a much loved figure was Brian, and just maybe this film has gone as far as it should? We are left in no doubt that Clough had problems, and the film doesn't shy away from that fact, but he was also a very talented and successful manager. So it be that the film is not as biting as the novel apparently is, but that is no bad thing in the context of the Brian Clough story.
Engrosing from the first whistle to the one that brings full time. 8/10