The Damned United ★★★½

FILM #43-DECEMBER CHALLENGE 2

Michael Sheen is one of those actors that can totally immerse himself in a role. From his two stints as that arsehole Tony Blair to his "fantabulosa" turn as Kenneth Williams, he really does encapsulate the real life person he is portraying.
Brian Clough was a colorful and charismatic footballer and even more colorful football manager. This film gives a little backstory on the man in his early days as a manager at Derby County before the champions of England, Leeds United came calling back in 1974. Clough was one of the biggest dissenters of Leeds United's fearsome style of play. They had players who were prepared to play dirty in search of success. Under manager Don Revie they had become the English champions and had untold success. Revie however had slighted Clough a few years earlier and Clough had a disdain for both Revie personally and Leeds United. The film shows the egotistical Clough with more than one side. He became known as old "Big-head" for his confident even arrogant demeanor and it was obvious from the off that the Leeds players weren't going to welcome his appointment.
Sheen's portrayal of Cloughie is uncanny. He mimics him perfectly and with some great actors playing other famous names from the time, it's surprisingly authentic looking. Stephen Graham as Scottish wild-man Billy Bremner was inspired casting and alongside Timothy Spall also earns rave reviews.The seventies hairstyles, the almost sepia look to the film, and the Welsh actor displaying a talent that even his old hero Richard Burton would have been proud of, this is an interesting look at a truly legendary football manager and his 44 days at Leeds United.

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