When Newcastle United soccer star Santiago Munez is offered a spot with Real Madrid, he accepts, but the move - accompanied by big money and fame - tests his ties and loyalties to family, friends and business acquaintances.
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Jesse V. Johnson
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Santiago's father, Hernan Munez, smuggled his penniless Mexican family over the US border to seek a better, albeit modest future in L.A. Eldest son Santiago dreams of more, like native Angelinos, then joining Hernan's gardening firm. His change arrives when a British ex-pro spots him as an exceptional soccer natural and promises he can arrange a real British talent scout to check him out. Although that falls trough and dad forbids it, Santiago accepts grandma's savings to try out with English premier league club Newcastle. Despite his asthma, he gets in and befriends the freshly transferred, desperately undisciplined bad boy star scorer, party animal Gavin Harris, who becomes his bothersome house-mate, a recipe for trouble and yet each's salvation. Written by
The film series uses teams supplied or sponsored with Adidas for the main character's teams. If the producers had came to an agreement with Nike, their teams would have been used instead, with Arsenal, FC Barcelona and Brazil the teams set to be featured. See more »
As Newcastle United have three matches left to qualify for a place in a European competition, this would set the time of the story towards the end of April (mid spring). However the climatic conditions depicted show what North East England is like in winter. See more »
Overwhelming under-dog story that has been done a hundred times and is definitely cliché-riddled, but I loved it nevertheless. "Goal!: The Journey Begins" is the first of a trilogy as a young Mexican illegal immigrant (Kuno Becker) in Los Angeles has a chance at the brass ring in England of all places playing soccer for one of their professional teams after being discovered by scout/former player Stephen Dillane. Tony Plana (always under-rated and excellent) is outstanding as Becker's cold father and Marcel Iures gives an incredible performance as the British team's head coach. Becker also unwittingly teaches a brash superstar (Alessandro Nivola) who has forgotten the real reasons why he plays soccer why the game is so important and also finds companionship in a strange land with beautiful nurse Anna Friel. Great cinematography and a wonderful score make for a very moving and entertaining experience as the film touches strong emotions of love, friendship, sacrifice and ultimate success against all odds. A bit long and not totally original, but still done well enough to be a winner that does accomplish its goal in the end. 4 stars out of 5.
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