Thursday, 28 May 2009
Sean Bean stars in this grim up north working class hero drama. We open with a young Jimmy at careers day ‘It’s factory or t’pit’ say the helpful man as the rebellious Jimmy refuses to straighten his tie. He and his slightly simple bother try for a fly pint but are rundown by their shiftless father who tells them they won’t amount to anything. Remember all these put downs for later folks!
Jimmy does defy the career man’s predictions however and we find him grown up and working at t’brewery instead. The place seems like good craik apart from a nasty stereotype they’ve strangely employed as foreman. At home the slightly simple brother has amassed a valuable collection of football programmes while Dad is still a loser looking for cash - guard them programmes for goodness sake!
Jimmy is quite happy playing for the pub team and drinking with his mates until a date with the new wages clerk suggests he may be destined for bigger things. The wages clerk, played by Emily Lloyd is more Irish than a leprechaun’s arse but she inspires our man to look for a trial for the local team despite being 36 already.
We then beat a familiar path of small setbacks and wins including a fortuitous walk by the pit just as it caves in on a loved one and a bet on an inappropriately named nag that comes in at 20-1 just in time to pay the gas bill. It can be no surprise that he eventually makes the grade, given the DVD cover and all, but it’s a reasonably fun ride getting there.
The film is written and directed by a lady so you can forgive a few sporting clichés and some pretty poorly set up footballing scenes. Her romantic vision of the game is quite innocent really and it’s almost like a fantasy football reconstruction of someone who in actual fact got his leg broken in the first five minutes in the rain.
The film gets into its own when Jimmy gets his chance with Pete Postelthwaite’s wise uncle with the nasty fellow pros hoping to upset his chances. The baddies are all pretty harmless and a good job is done of setting them up only for our hero to triumph. As always in these things a few real pros are roped in to give it a sense of realism and for them to embarrass themselves in the acting stakes; so take a bow Tony Currie you were nearly as animated as your football sticker.
Mr Bean clearly is having a good time throughout and who could blame him when the script demands he cavorts with strippers as well as Lloyd and gets to play for his favourites Sheffield United. Good work if you can get it! Of the characters I liked the Dad and the foremen best both of whom would give Dick Dastardly a run in the moustache twirling stakes.
The script is pretty pedestrian but as a working class factory worker wish fulfilment you could do a lot worse.
Best Bit : Sean gives Emily a necklace
‘W’ Rating : 15/23