Christmas. Forget the daily foraging for tasteless chocolates wrapped in plastic, and instead enjoy another jolly suggestion in our Anti-Advent Calendar. On to day fifteen…
Before the majestic one-two combination of The King’s Speech and Les Misérables, director Tom Hooper made a taut drama based on the life of legendary football manager Brian Clough. The Damned United is an excellent little film which makes the world of 1960s/70s English football accessible to everyone.
The film is split between two time periods: Clough’s meteoric rise with Derby County in the late 60s, and his ill-fated spell as manager of former champions (and archenemy) Leeds United in 1974. Hooper’s direction is very strong here, through showing us the links between the mad genius of Clough and his awful hubris. Michael Sheen does a brilliant job in the lead role. Clough’s arrogance, pride and burning ambition are great to watch develop, even over a short 98 minute run-time.
It’s a fascinating story of an intriguing individual. Why did he take the job at Leeds, since he hated them so much beforehand? But with Clough’s fierce desire to be the best, was it even possible not to take the job?