I'm an Arsenal fan just so you know, and besides Fever Pitch, that cameo in Ocean's Twelve, and that Nike football advertisement directed by Guy Ritchie (Take It To the Next Level), The Damned United also featured an historical archived footage with the 70s Arsenal playing. But this is more or less a Leeds United film which set in its heydays, but more so a fictionalized dramatization of an England Manager who wasn't, Brian Howard Clough, whom you know to date as won back to back European Cup championships with Nottingham Forest, a feat not repeated since.
But this is not about Forest, but goes a little back to his beginnings as a club manager, and looks at the time where he's managing Derby County, before his limited 44 day run at Leeds as manager. Michael Sheen brings out the role of Clough perfectly, and is the centerpiece of two main storylines here, one about his obsessive rivalry with ex-Leeds and now England manager Don Revie (Colm Meany) almost along the lines of The Prestige, and that of his professional successful partnership with assistant manager Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall). Balancing football action with extremely insightful characterization, The Damned United boasts some beautiful art direction, and an awesome soundtrack to bring to life a football era that is long gone, now seduced more by tremendous amounts of money being thrown at it.
This is a damn fine film packed into a damn fine 1-disc DVD chock full of extras, that any English football fan cannot afford to miss. If Goal is a film that captured action on the pitch perfectly through the point of view of a fictional character, then this one is that perfect film that examines the capturing of the back room activities from the point of view of a real life manager. Armchair football gamers, put your game down for a while, and watch this film. You'll be doing yourself a favour!
You can read my DVD review of The Damned United at movieXclusive.com by clicking on the logo below.