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Great play, pity about the screenplay is all I can say.
This play remains one of the most insightful views into the world of sports cum business ever scripted. Even truer today than when the play was written, it paints a picture of a club having to face the fact that loyalty and honour don't mean much in the modern game, either to players or their employers. Those who don't or won't accept the new hard nosed and ruthless system seem destined to fail - although the final scene offers a glimmer of hope. The whole thing is served with a big dash of humour - the scene where the bumbling old Jock unknowingly tokes up with troubled star player Geoff and is led through an increasingly unbelievable story of Geoff's patricide and attraction for his sister is priceless.
It is a far deeper examination of the different views of the game and motives of the characters than Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday, which is a thousand times more flashy but also considerably more simplistic and unsubtle in its characterisations.
So it is a great play, and if you don't have a theatrical of it handy, the film is better than just reading it.
But the film was made on low production values and without much desire for realism. As a result, there is a significant cringe effect, which distracts from the point of the film. The scene of Collingwood training with a total of about six guys kicking a couple of footballs around encapsulates the refusal of the producers to just go the extra few yards to make this film a little realistic.
If the play is on, see it. Such is the quality of the play, hopefully sooner or later there will be a film remake. Otherwise, see the film, but ignore the visuals and concentrate on the screenplay.
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