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United...

Saw it last night- heartbreaking film about the Manchester United ("Busby's Babes") and the Munich air disaster of 1958. 8 members of the football club perished in the tragedy, leaving the coach to put things back together. More under the cut...



en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_air_disaster

Somehow this drama made me cry more than We Are Marshall. Maybe because the crash aftermath was recreated so vividly (plus actual news footage is used)- it was so hard to watch. Much of the story revolves around coach Jimmy Murphy (David Tennant) and young player Bobby Charlton (Jack O'Connell)- who survives the crash. We see the crash through his eyes- the horror of seeing his mates and others dead- it's tough stuff. O'Connell plays the expected survivor's guilt and reluctance to return to the game well.

I loved Tennant in this. He has some fabulous bits throughout- his mentoring of Charlton, his shock and grief at the news of the crash, his calm walk through the Munich hospital visiting the survivors (including manager Matt Busby), standing guard over the coffins, and his determination to keep the club going. He doesn't overdo Murphy's brief breakdown. One little scene got to me, and I wonder if anyone else caught it- as he flies into Munich after the disaster, he crosses himself in silent prayer. I would have done the same...

He looks so much older in this film. I joke a lot about him being boyish looking and acting, but he sure looks older than his actual 40 years here. Granted, he is playing an almost 50-year-old...

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I think this moved me more than Marshall (a disaster that had more widespread consequences) because there wasn't that much emphasis on football (soccer to us in the States). There are bits in practice and pre-games, but no games themselves. Marshall went overboard on the actual games, IMHO.

There were a few historical inacuracies (the death date of player Duncan Edwards, for example), obviously for dramatic purposes. Other than that, it was well done. I'm so happy to see Tennant getting so much interesting post-Doctor Who work.