Goal! 2: Living The Dream

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Movie Review by Dr Kuma

Starring: Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel, Stephen Dillane
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

There have been some great sporting movies over the years- most of them British (CHARIOTS OF FIRE, THIS SPORTING LIFE and ah hem (clears throat) ESCAPE TO VICTORY) which has proven one thing; England makes better films about sport than it does at mastering the sports themselves – even though we invented most of them! Government please take note.

In this episode of the trilogy Real Madrid beckons for the Toon Army’s favourite player: Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker). Whilst his fiancee (Roz played by Anna Friel) plans their wedding in Newcastle, he realises every footballer’s dream and gets to wear the legendary white shirt alongside David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and Raul.

Mirroring the paths of many footballing legends before him, Santiago, in the second part of the trilogy, basks in the glory, the acclaim and the money, only for this illusion of happiness to be shattered and his life destroyed. As the fame hungry, avaricious and beautiful Jordana seduces our aspiring Galactico, his past is closing in to catastrophic results. Set against the backdrop of Real Madrid, Santiago discovers the ugly face of success and begins to lose his career, his friends and most importantly Roz.

It was with mixed feeling that I attended GOAL 2. I mean an English/German co-funded movie on football – that’s a contradiction in itself. However, unlike the beautiful game itself, this isn’t a film of two half’s – it’s one coherent whole of a movie and it’s immensely enjoyable. Before you think “oh great, a good movie about football” I have to say that this is more of a drama built around football. All the characters are very well observed and the acting is good to excellent. Anna Friel’s Geordie accent is the best I’ve heard – it’s better than mine and I was born in Newcastle.

Obviously as it’s about footy there are many cliches, but most of them aren’t football cliches. If I see one more movie set in Newcastle where it rains in every shot I’ll scream. Newcastle isn’t like the metropolis in BLADE RUNNER – people need to realize that and going from Friels “tears in the rain” character to the golden sepia tinted shots of Spain are just a cliche too far. However, the BLADE RUNNER connection is there as we have Rutger Hauer playing the Real Madrid Coach. The support players play themselves and it was amazing timing seeing the trails and tribulations of football as the screening took place the day after Beckham confirmed he was leaving Real – in the real world that is. It was strange to see the trials Beckham and our hero Santi have to go through with the Paparazzi in the film and then leave the screening room to see Beckham on every TV screen in every pub I passed. Talk about life imitating art. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a work of art, it’s a film that would work better on a small screen rather than the cinema as it has that BBC episodic feel to it, especially as its spread over three films, but I have to say you can waste a worse 90+ minutes watching a football match for real.

After the huge disappointment of England’s performance in the World Cup, this made me fall back in love with the beautiful game. There are a few footballers’ wife type scenes but on the whole this was a very well observed second half to the trilogy.

Dr Kuma’s verdict: A film about the beautiful game that will appeal to both sexes. A Real (Madrid) winner.

4 out of 6 stars