Disappointed with the failure of his country's football team on their 2002 World Cup campaign, a Dutch fan decides to organize a football match between the two lowest FIFA-ranking teams - ...
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Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
Disappointed with the failure of his country's football team on their 2002 World Cup campaign, a Dutch fan decides to organize a football match between the two lowest FIFA-ranking teams - Bhutan and Montserrat. This match will take place earlier on the same day as World Cup final, and become famous as "The other final". Written by
Given that this film combined travel and football, I suppose there was only the slightest of chances that I wouldn't like it. As it was, I loved every minute of it. Basically, I watched this in "goofy grin" mode throughout. This is a film for every duffer with two left feet who has ever chased after a football and dreamed of glory.
Basically, following the failure of The Netherlands to qualify for the 2002 World Cup Finals, a Dutch fan came up with the idea of an "alternative" final between the two lowest ranking countries in the world. Step forward brave Bhutan (202nd) and magnificent Montserrat (203rd). Faxes were issued and the challenge accepted by both. The film covers the build up to the game from both sides, as well as the match itself. It is a story rich in drama. One week before the match, neither side (for vastly differing reasons) has a coach. Three days before the game, they still don't have a referee.
The game was played in Bhutan (and while this tiny country has been on my "must visit" list for a few years now, this film really made me want to go there....and soon) and the tortuous route taken by the Montserrat team (via Amsterdam, Bangkok and Calcutta) suggested they were still trying to figure out where Bhutan was, long after they had set out on their epic journey.
This is a film about the joy of sport (in a world far away from over-inflated salaries and corporate sponsorship) and also about the meeting of two very different cultures. The Montserrat players are clearly more than a little stunned to be asked for their autographs. The Bhutanese captain (and centre forward) dreams of playing for Arsenal some day (although he knows it will never happen).
As for the game itself, it looks like all of Bhutan turns out to watch the epic contest and the local match commentary enhances the spectacle (e.g. "The Montserrat keeper looks very confident with the ball at his feet" - just before he hoofs it straight to the Bhutanese forward). The grass on the pitch is cut by hand, with a sickle. The penalty spot appears to lie in the middle of a marshy bog. It's also not every game where a keeper sits down in his goalmouth and sulks after losing a goal.
I guess the best tribute I can pay to this film is that not only did it make me want to visit Bhutan (as previously noted), but it also made me really wish I could have been there to see this game. If only I'd known <sigh!>. This is a magical film.
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