Man of the World

Sheen as Clough

I finally got to see the film version of David Peace’s The Damned Utd and it was well worth the wait. Tom Hooper’s The Damned United is a fine adaptation of its source material and is the best film that I’ve seen about football. Like the novel, the film is a fictionalised account of Brian Clough’s brief tenure in charge of Leeds United in 1974. And, like the book, episodes from 1974 are alternated with flashbacks to Clough’s previous stint in charge of Derby County

The film is very funny and this is due to a combination of Peter Morgan’s script, its direction and a brilliant cast. Michael Sheen is impressive as usual in the central role of Brian Howard Clough. Sheen is used to playing fictional versions of actual people, most notably his depiction of Tony Blair in The Deal and The Queen. His performance in The Damned United makes you forget his other roles as he gets Clough’s accent and delivery, his appearance and mannerisms, and his whole persona down to a tee. Clough was a larger-than-life character who would have been the centre of attention wherever he went and Sheen is exactly the same in the film. Colm Meaney also does a great job throughout the movie as Clough’s nemesis, Don Revie. Other notable performances include Timothy Spall as Clough’s sidekick, Peter Taylor, and Jim Broadbent as the Derby County chairman. The actors playing the Leed players are less effective, but this may be because their parts are merely caricatures and are not so well-written

The early seventies is captured quite well through the use of archive footage, street shots, interior decor, the use of lighting and the clothes and hairstyles on view. The film depicts a far more parochial football world than the modern one of the Premiership where the manager now has more power. The film also chronicles Clough’s love-hate relationships with two men: Don Revie and Peter Taylor. He constantly tries to emulate and ultimately outdo Revie while he finds that he needs Taylor as much as Taylor needs him. The total running time of the film comes in at under 90 minutes and I enjoyed every second of it

Leeds United – Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer‘s Leeds United appears on her solo debut album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer (2008). Palmer is singer, pianist and lyricist with The Dresden Dolls. I’m not sure what this song has to do with Leeds Utd and the lyrics don’t provide any clues

Leed United – Luke Haines

Luke Haines‘s Leed United appears on his Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop (2006). Haines has previously been a member of The Auteurs and Black Box Recorder and has just published a book entitled Bad Vibes: Britpop and My Part in its Downfall. Leeds United was released as a single and Haines performed the song at book signings for David Peace’s The Damned Utd


2 thoughts on “Man of the World

  1. Pingback: My Favourite Films & DVDs of 2009 « Town Full of Losers

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