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United is based on the true story of Manchester United's legendary "Busby Babes", the youngest side ever to win the Football League and the 1958 Munich Air Crash that claimed eight of the their number. The film draws on first-hand interviews with the survivors and their families to tell the inspirational story of a team and community overcoming terrible tragedy. Written by
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Likely if the viewer is a soccer fan and already familiar with the 1958 tragic airplane accident that resulted in the loss of lives of the majority of the Internationally famous soccer team during a blighted takeoff in Munich, this film will be profoundly affecting. Certainly the 'based on true events' aspect of this film makes it affecting, especially the manner in which the citizens of Manchester responded to the deaths of their heroes and came to the fore with support for their beloved winning team. But as written by Chris Chibnall and directed by James Strong, UNITED relies too heavily on established information and fails to develop the characters portrayed by the actors to the point that the non-soccer fan audience has a difficult time identifying with the members of the team and the film plods along in a maudlin, saccharine manner that without some history of the boys on the team becomes a bit trying to watch.
But as the PR states, 'United is based on the true story of Manchester United's legendary "Busby Babes", the youngest side ever to win the Football League and the 1958 Munich Air Crash that claimed eight of the their number. The film draws on first-hand interviews with the survivors and their families to tell the inspirational story of a team and community overcoming terrible tragedy.
The few team members who are allowed personality are portrayed by Sam Clafin as Duncan, Thomas Howes as the pipe smoking Mark, and Jack O'Connell as the newest member of the team Bobby (good in the first half, maudlin and weak in the second half). The spokesman for the team is owner Matt Busby (Dougray Scott) - the team is known as Busby's Babes - and the redoubtable champion team leader Jimmy Murphy is well portrayed by David Tennant. The hard-nosed athletic commissioner Alan Hardaker is portrayed by Neil Dudgeon. The rest of the cat is fine but their characters are so ill-defined that it is difficult to remember who they are.
Undoubtedly a sad but true story and also one of overcoming odds, but as a film for the general public without soccer connections, it is a poorly conceived movie.
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