Soccer films have rarely fared well on the big screen. Be they tales of rags-to-riches (Sean Bean vehicle When Saturday Comes) or given a WWII setting (Escape to Victory), something seems to be lost in translation when trying to show the beautiful game on film. Even the faux-Hollywood gloss and carpet-bomb marketing campaign of the Goal! series couldn't prevent it's fate of straight-to-DVD hell.
The Damned United attempts to change this sorry state of affairs. Directed by Tom Hooper and adapted by Peter Morgan from the 2006 source novel of the same name, written by David Peace, The Damned United tells the story of charismatic British manager Brian Clough's notorious 44-day stint in charge of Leeds United Football Club during the 1974-75 league season.
To label The Damned United solely as a soccer film is unfair. Switching between Clough's fateful days at Leeds United and his early days in management at Derby County, it is more the character study of a highly colourful and motivated man, arguably the most famous man of his era in the UK, who just happened to ply his trade in the profession of soccer management.