The Damned United (Sony Pictures Classics) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, December 7th, 2023  

The Damned United

Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Directed by Tom Hooper; Starring: Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall

Oct 08, 2009 Issue #28 Fall 2009 - Monsters of Folk
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Directed by Tom Hooper (John Adams) and based on David Peace’s fictionalized novel, The Damned United follows English soccer legend Brian Clough’s brief but memorable 44 days as the team manager of powerhouse Leeds United in 1974. Scattered with flashbacks, the film tells how Clough swaggers into the position and what spurs his audacious leadership style. Michael Sheen (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) sharply portrays the manager’s arrogant persona and insolent outspokenness, but with an undercurrent of humor that makes his unpleasantness highly entertaining. As Clough’s assistant, Peter Taylor, Timothy Spall (Harry Potter‘s Peter Pettigrew) provides a measured foil, as well as a voice of reason.

The Damned United is about one man’s acceptance of his faults, development of humility, and rise to becoming one of the most revered figures in his field. The drab, water-stained, and drizzly landscape of Northern England is strikingly captured by director of photography Ben Smithard. The fact that Clough is hardly a household name outside England could deter The Damned United from reaching the audience it deserves. And that would be a damned shame.

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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