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The Damned United (2009) Leeds United. Derby County. The FA Cup. Those who speak the language of English football are ahead of the game when it comes to enjoying… 2009-10-09 R PT98M Drama Sports Colm Meaney Michael Sheen Jim Broadbent Timothy Spall Sony Pictures Classics
Movie Review

The Damned United (2009)

MPAA Rating: R

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Free Style | FEVER PITCH Timothy Spall and Michael Sheen huddle up in The Damned United
Image credit: Laurie Sparham
FEVER PITCH Timothy Spall and Michael Sheen huddle up in The Damned United
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Limited Release: Oct 09, 2009; Rated: R; Length: 98 Minutes; Genres: Drama, Sports; With: Colm Meaney and Michael Sheen; Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Leeds United. Derby County. The FA Cup. Those who speak the language of English football are ahead of the game when it comes to enjoying The Damned United, about a brief, blighted chapter in the professional life of legendary football manager Brian Clough. Fans already know that Clough, who died in 2004, lasted exactly 44 days as manager of reigning football champs Leeds United in 1974 — a period this rousing British sports pic dramatizes with fierce verve. For the rest — just guessing, the majority of Americans? — what's lost in translation is recovered easily enough in Michael Sheen's astonishing performance as Clough.

It's no accident that Sheen displays some of the same incisive understanding of human 
 inconsistency and political strategy that he demonstrated in The Queen and Frost/Nixon: Peter Morgan wrote all three screenplays, adapting this script from David Peace's acclaimed 
 novel The Damned Utd. Meanwhile, director Tom Hooper, who won heaps of awards for HBO's John Adams, turns the talk of men into action scenes. The great cast includes Timothy Spall as the assistant manager, Colm Meaney as Clough's nemesis, and Jim Broadbent as a sports exec who'd make George Steinbrenner nervous. B+

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Originally posted Oct 06, 2009 Published in issue #1071 Oct 16, 2009 Order article reprints