Arts + Music » Arts + Culture

The Damned United

Directed by Tom Hooper (Sony)

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Oi, oi. In England, football (soccer, that is) is religion. It's like hockey here, only times 100. Part of its popularity is that even the smallest team has the chance to become the best in England. The Damned United is about manager Brian Clough's (Michael Sheen, Frost/Nixon) mission to become the UK's best and dethrone his most hated rival, Don Revie (Colm Meaney), former manager of Leeds United. The story is told in two timelines, one of Clough leading second division bottom dwellers Derby County to the top of English football in the early '70s, and the other of his determination after, as the new manager of Leeds, to undo everything Revie ever accomplished. Ultimately the film is about Clough, his ambition and its pitfalls, and his engaging but destructive personality. It's both funny and touching and, all round, a bit of all right.

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