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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
The film also includes various ex Raith Rovers players, including Andy Smith, Peter Heatherston and Didier Agathe. See more »
I've been reading a lot of David and Goliath stories in the paper this week. If I were a reporter it'd be my angle too. It has a nice ring about it - except the ring of truth. In that match-up one side had a sword, the other a stone. In this version we both use the same weapon. This
[holds up a football]
is what we play with, lads. And whoever wants it the more will win.
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I happened across this movie while channel surfing Direct TV and made a point to see it in its entirety. As a major soccer and Robert Duvall fan, I was truly impressed and anyone fitting into either or both of those categories will love this as well. The plot line is sports movie formulaic, e.g. "underdog beats the odds", but that takes nothing away from this incantation nor the superb way that the movie is shot. Obviously, the director knew the sport or listened to someone who did. You will really feel that you are watching clips of The Scottish Cup. Even if you know nothing of soccer, the movie is done in such a way as for you to still appreciate the main story line against the backdrop of the intense world of Scottish soccer (football).
Robert Duvall is simply amazing. This may be one of those performances by a sublime actor that will be lost to history but is a testament to Duvall's preeminence in his craft. Duvall plays Gordon McLeod, the manager of the small, fictional Kilnockie soccer club that has just taken a chance on a combustible superstar, Jackie McQuillan (Ally McCoist) who seems to be on the downside of a superlative career. Oh, and it just so happens that McQuillan is Gordon's son-in-law. The marriage of his daughter to the flamboyant McQuillan deviated Gordon to the point where he no longer speaks to his daughter (the superb Kirsty Mitchell). Far fetched? Maybe, but interesting and compelling nonetheless. For American viewers, it is amazing to see Duvall absolutely nail the Scottish accent and manner of speech while managing to actually sound like a crusty yet lovable soccer coach. If you know what a Scott or a soccer coach sounds like, you'll love this. I was more than ten minutes into the movie before I really accepted the fact that this was the "Great Santini" in this role.
Brian Cox as Duvall's arch rival, Cole Hauser as the back-up rookie Anmerican goalkeeper (who gets his shot in the big game, but then if you have ever watched a sports movie, you KNEW that was going to happen) and Michael Keaton as the slick American owner of the Kilnockie team hit home runs in their respective small roles. Ally McCoist, a real life soccer star in Scotland, is wonderful as the enigmatic McQuillan. Although I don't know much about McCoist's actual career in Scotland, I can't help but think that his part here is somewhat biographical. Either that, or McCoist is an unbelievably tainted actor because he nails this one.
No amazing special effects, no big box office notoriety, no major studio hype. But, if you appreciate a good story with actors doing a superb job, pick up this movie.
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