Friday, March 20, 2009

The Damned Film?

I've just seen Michael Sheen on Jonathan Ross (that's me crazy guy, crazy Friday night) and I'm looking forward to The Damned United film. And I enjoyed the book.
I'm sorry that the Clough family have been upset but it is, essentially, a fictionalised account of real events involving Brian Clough. An age old dramatic trick that David Peace handles wonderfully well in the book. I hope the film does it justice.

I was amazed to find out from Radio Five Live that Tim Lovejoy didn't know Derby had once reached the semi finals of the European Cup - in other news Timbo, Chelsea were once skint - but he learnt a lot from the film.

That will, of course, be the problem. Clough's entire legacy, as complicated, glorious and often unattractive as it is, should not be a fictionalised account of one and half months of madness.

I have read a lot about Clough. And, perhaps like no other footballer, this was a man built to lend himself to heightened dramatic portrayals. The problem, I guess, that the Clough family have is that the man Peace created had little in common with the family man they knew.

But the family man was possibly also far removed from the life Clough led in public. He was an ultimate actor (like Tony Blair, like Kenneth Williams and like David Frost those other Sheen impersonations) who lived his public life in a state of heightened drama. Peace simply joined together the dots that Clough himself had left behind.

So I'm looking forward to the film (despite hating the experience of going to the cinema and despite the knowledge of football films past). It shouldn't be seen as the definitive story of Brian Clough. But as part of the legacy of the mythical legend that Clough actively sought to create I hope it lives up to a fantastic novel.