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Well written little story that is made much better by natural acting and good direction
1985. With a big game (Chelsea v's Spurs) on the television, Wayne invites his mates around to his flat to have a few beers and then watch the match. With beers, lips get loosened and one of Wayne's mates, Dean, spots a contradiction in what Terry said earlier in the day. Wayne pops out to the office to get some beers in for the lads, Terry sits next to Donna and talks more about going away with her, leaving Terry and taking their son with them. However Donna is secure with Wayne and has no intention of revealing their secret. As the game approaches, the mates talk and tensions rise and things threaten to bubble over.
One of three short films that was commissioned by the BBC's digital channel just prior to the 2002 World Cup, the films used football as a backdrop to a series of dramas and comedies. This film was set just before Chelsea's 3-1 kicking by Spurs in the mid-eighties but we seen none of the game (in fact it is just about to start as the film ends) and the focus here is the tensions in the room as secrets start to surface. The writing is natural and it covers the fact that the plot requires a lot to be going on for such a small group of people. The film works though and it manages to bring the tension to the fore and really get the audience involved. The direction is a bit like the constantly moving variety a la NYPD Blue but it really helps draw you into the front room and the story.
The acting is great and is a major part of this film being involving and enjoyable. Dyer is in the same blokey mode that he is in in Football Factory at the moment as well (but maybe a bit more 'normal'), he carries a lot with his eye and he is good. Creed-Miles has a tough character but does it pretty well and manages to hold together the plot stretches. Okonedo is very real and shows a lot without a lot of words however I am a little biased because I think she is very talented and very attractive. Marshall is not a good actor but he can cope with what is required of him here.
Overall this is an enjoyable short with great acting, well written dialogue (from Vaughan!) and good direction that really involves the audience. The plot requires a lot and the story goes further than is easy to swallow but the aforementioned factors and keeping the short in the flat help it work really well and be an enjoyable film all the more interesting for the historical value of Spurs convincingly winning a game.
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