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I hated this in every way. I'll be honest, I hadn't heard of Kusturica before seeing it but I've since learned he's regarded as a genius in filmmaking.
Even though Maradona is a cheating, egotistical little fool, there's no escaping the fact that he's a colourful individual and was one hell of a footballer.
However, I learned very little more than I already knew about him. Everything was done so obviously on Maradona's terms. It was nothing more than an arty Maradona love-in. He hates the USA, he hates Britain, he loves Castro, he loved cocaine, he played a good game of football. That much we did learn. However, I and anyone else who follows football, already knew that. But, let's not forget, he cheated time and time again. Whilst he comes across as remorseful for the effect him doing drugs had on his family, he clearly sees himself as a victim for the effect it had on his career. The man was a professional sportsman, an idol and role model for millions around the world, yet he's bitter and feels hard-done-by about the fact that he was one of those to get caught out.
Any cheating on the pitch, namely the infamous 'Hand of God' against England, was portrayed as no more than a schoolboy prank he got away with. How did Maradona get away with it? According to Maradona it was because of God (further proof of Maradona's deluded mind)! Then, frequently during the film, Kusturica depicts the second goal in the same game (reputedly the best goal ever scored) as some sort of political comment on the Falklands War, with a cartoon Maradona slaying Prince Charles, the Queen and Margaret Thatcher to name a few. Sorry, but whilst the goal was a stroke of genius, it was no political comment; it's just convenient to suggest it was.
A footballer surely doesn't justify such an arty piece of filmmaking. If a filmmaker's intention is to profile a footballer, then surely a chronological study from the start to present day is what's needed, not philosophical ramblings over what made him what he is/was. If these ramblings taught us anything, then fine, but they didn't. He wasn't a revolutionary (although he clearly believes he is), he wasn't the great ruler of a nation (I'm sure he believes he's this too). He was a footballer and a cheat. A brilliant footballer, yes, and arguably the best to have ever lived and his life off the pitch is thought to be equally as (if not more so) fascinating as his life on it. That's why I'm so frustrated to have learnt so little from this. I wanted to hear him discuss in greater detail his humble beginnings, his rise through the ranks in footballing terms, his experiences with drugs, more details around his time at Barcelona and Napoli etc. The lack of facts and the general sycophantic tone that shrouded the whole film left me none the wiser and even less enamoured by Maradona than I was to begin with.
It's amazing (and again very odd) to see just how revered he is in Argentina but I wished the film would have stopped dwelling on the fact and get on with some steadfast facts on the man himself. I don't wish to see some weird looking Argentine couple supposedly getting married at the church of Maradona, nor do I want to see Maradona singing a song (presumably about himself) for what seemed like an eternity. This was just further evidence of his God complex. I found both these scenes to be really peculiar.
Aside from it being mind-numbingly dull, I found the whole thing a bit sinister really. Kusturica especially so. His voice-over was horrible, his bedraggled appearance horrible and then you get him fawning all over the supposed great man.
Maradona's autobiography, El Diego, whilst interesting at times, was like reading a true Rock 'N' Roller's autobiography without any mention of the sex, drugs and excesses that go with it. Whilst a different approach was taken here, it was by no means a more interesting one.
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