Gordon McLeod is the manager of a second tier Scottish football team. Faced with pressure from his American owner, he is forced to bring on a marquee player to improve the fortunes of the ... See full summary »
An aimless young man who is scalping tickets, gambling and drinking, agrees to coach a Little League team from the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago as a condition of getting a loan from a friend.
Gordon McLeod is the manager of a second tier Scottish football team. Faced with pressure from his American owner, he is forced to bring on a marquee player to improve the fortunes of the team and prevents its being moved from the fiercely loyal town it's been for a century. Along the way, McLeod must battle his own demons, including long-standing tiffs with both his daughter and a former colleague who betrayed him. Written by
Didier Agathe plays for the "baddie" team Rangers in the film. In real life he played for their rivals Celtic. See more »
[who has just let the ball go through his legs for a goal]
Boss, I'm sorry. I should have shut my f-f-f-fucking legs.
No, son, no. Your mother should have shut hers.
See more »
It is a classic problem with football films that the on-field action often lacks realism and therefore takes away from the drama it is supposed to represent. A great example of this is When Saturday Comes, a fine drama spoilt somewhat by its fairly fanciful and at times, laughable depiction of football as seen through the eyes of a film studio. However, the Scottish film A Shot At Glory achieves quite the opposite. The football on show is largely very realistic, whilst the plot and scripting leaves something to be desired.
The simple but effective tactic that the ASAG film-makers have used is employing real footballers to represent the fictional Second Division side, Kilnockie, and their opponents. This is an immediate advantage over using actors who have occasionally played football or body doubles in the action sequences. Notables on show include Owen Coyle, now manager of English Premiership side Burnley, and of course the star man, Ally McCoist. It always helps when the man depicting your star player - in this case, the brash Jackie McQuillan is actually a top level performer in reality.
Of course, whilst McCoist was a very good footballer, he is not an actor. This is fairly obvious at different times throughout the film, but generally he does a solid job. His lines are kept understandably sparse but he is certainly not uncomfortable in the role. The film, though, is actually about an ageing manager, Gordon McLeod, denied the big time by a cruel twist of fate and desperate to prove himself to his family and his sworn enemy. This role is taken by Robert Duvall, a fine actor who, in my opinion, takes to it extremely well and is believable as the hard-bitten manager having his last hurrah. His Scottish accent is nowhere near as bad as I had been led to believe, and is in fact much better than say, Sean Connery's past attempts at an American accent.
The main problem with the film is that it is simply not very interesting. The premise is that McQuillan was once married to McLeod's daughter, and the striker's reappearance causes friction with the family and his teammates. This is set against the backdrop of a rousing run in the Scottish Cup for Kilnockie, tempered by the boardroom dealings of a sadly limp Michael Keaton as the club's chairman. There are also some nice turns from Kirsty Mitchell as McQuillan's love interest and Brian Cox as the smug manager of Glasgow Rangers.
It would be easy to dismiss this film as low-budget schmaltz craftily marketed to attract football fans and curious followers of Duvall. However, there is an honesty and earnestness about the film which is to be appreciated, along with the high-level footballing action scenes. That said, those who are not interested in the sporting aspect will probably find little to hold their attention here.
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