Review: The Damned United

I have been a little unwell over the last twenty-four hours so, in lieu of being able to write anything myself, I wrapped our usual cartoonist Ted Carter in mittens, a warm scarf and his favourite duffle coat, and sent him to the cinema to watch the film version of “David Peace’s novel, The Damned United”. He came back with this report and a drawing at the same time. With a bit of luck, normal service will resume tomorrow. David Peace described his 2006 book The Damned Utd “another fiction, based on another fact”.  Tom Hooper’s film The Damned United, out on general release last Friday, is probably best described as based on another fiction, based on another fact.  The 93 minute film is altogether brighter and breezier than the book, dealing much less with the psychological darkness or the beginnings of Clough’s slide into alcoholism and focusing instead on the Brian Clough of legend. In fact, it is most unhelpful to try and think of the film in terms of comparison to the book.  The film could not possibly hope to match the breadth or texture of Peace’s extraordinary text.  Rather than Raging Bull, then, this film is better described as Moby Dick – the story of Brian Clough’s all-encompassing, damaging, obsession with beating Don Revie and beating Leeds United.  To that end, it touches on certain aspects...

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