Shooting For Socrates (DVD)

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Shooting For Socrates (DVD)

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60% positive

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Review of "Shooting For Socrates (DVD)"

published 12/02/2016 | Ailran
Member since : 07/09/2004
Reviews : 345
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About me :
I like a challenge... so will the end of this year and next (2016) see me return with a 'Around the world in 80 Films' attempt? (Actually can I even find 80 countries I can watch and review films from!)
Satisfactory
Pro mildly Interesting, maybe more so if you are Irish
Cons No real drama, no excitement, no real story to go with the actual events
very helpful
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"Like an England penalty... it misses the target"

Shooting For Socrates

Shooting For Socrates is a film based around the adventures of the Northern Ireland football team in the last couple of qualifying games for the 1986 World Cup and what happened to them over in Mexico when they made it.

More importantly it is about the fact that they are going to have to play Brazil, the best team in the world, and play against Socrates, Brazil’s number one playmaker.

Most of the story focuses around the team, the TV pundit/star following them and a boy back home in Belfast who loves football and idolises Socrates.

This is a very strange film, not in the sense of how it is made or what it does but in the sense of what is it trying to achieve. Having watched it I don’t get what it was doing, trying to do or what the point of it was. A story about the Northern Ireland football team qualifying and playing in the World Cup is, you would think going to have a limited appeal unless you actually try and add something to it.
After all the team is actually a popular one worldwide like maybe Republic of Ireland were in the 1990’s. The plucky little underdogs who achieved a lot doesn’t really apply to them as they didn’t! Now maybe if the makers had done something more than just make a pretty dry, almost documentary like version of the story it would be different but to be honest this feels more like a documentary than a film but without the authenticity and the interviews.
It is like the makers said he look Northern Ireland played Brazil in a World Cup finals, we should make a film about it. Problem is no one really cares about that fact other than, maybe, people in Northern Ireland. Most sports movies are made because something unexpected happened but have any of you heard about Northern Ireland playing Brazil? OF course not having heard about it doesn’t mean nothing happened, after all many an American movie is made about sport and we have never heard of the situation that led to the movie (Friday Night Lights, Blindside and many many more!) but the only people I would imagine would be likely to be interested in this would be people in Ireland and the UK and if they are interested they would almost certainly know enough about the 1986 World Cup to know what did and did not happen.

So if you have a story that is fairly well known maybe you can go outside of the main story and add some more personal bits and pieces. To do this we have a few minor storylines to add some spice… well hopefully.

9 year old Tommy and his dad Arthur are big fans and live in Belfast while the terrorists are still bombing and soldiers patrol the streets. They both love football and we do get a few father and son moments between them but it really isn’t that interesting, maybe that is because we don’t spend enough time with them or maybe it just isn’t interesting enough. I never really had anything other than disinterest when they were on, this is nothing against the actors, Art Parkinson and Richard Dormer as they are both good but the script gave them very little to do.

We have the ‘comedy’ relief in Jackie Fullerton (played by Conleth Hill. Fullerton is a tv host and is following the team trying to get stories from them. He does bring some light hearted moments to the film but it is almost in a cringing, was he really like that kind of way.

The other kind of side story is that of David Campbell, a young player at Nottingham Forest who earns his first call up to the national squad for the World Cup. We get to see a bit of how he feels about getting to play for Northern Ireland and how he interacts with all the long-time squad members.

The star of the film is John Hannah, playing the manager of the team Billy Bingham. Hannah is a good actor and he plays the role very well, but however you look at it this is a thankless task. When you are in a film that has no excitement, no comedy, no drama… well nothing of anything much, and it is based on a real event where you already know how things are going to turn out you are onto a loser.

I am not normally one for completely panning a film, I often get things out of even the worst films but this one is just a piece of fluff. Like I said I really do not understand what they were aiming at with this. Maybe if you are from Belfast it would remind you of a bright time during the ‘troubles’ but I am not sure even that would be the case. Even more so it puzzles me why this game against Brazil means so much. I would have thought the 1982 World Cup finals where not only did Northern Ireland best Spain but they also had, in Norman Whiteside, the youngest player ever to play in a World Cup finals (that may have been beaten since then but it was quite a big thing at the time especially to me and my friends as we were about the same age at the time!)

Technically this is a well-made film, it looks good and some of the actors even look like the players (as far as I can recall at least!). Even the actual football scenes are well shot, I am not 100% sure they are not real footage of the games but as the film doesn’t look any different between the football scenes and the filmed scenes I am assuming they reshot them.

The film maker James Erskine had made documentaries before so that probably explains why this feels so much like one, maybe he should have made this as a documentary as well, it probably would have been a lot more interesting that way.

Part of Around the World in 80 Films

9: Northern Ireland
(as it was made in Ireland, funded by NI Screen with RTE and Channel 4, stars Irish actors and is about Northern Ireland I think it qualifies just about!)

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Comments on this review

  • spanielize published 18/04/2016
    very interesting review - I wondered what the perspective would have been to someone who wasn't from NI - fair play to you for watching it!
  • VampirePrincessLizzy published 17/03/2016
    Not one for me lol, great review :)
  • duffatron published 16/03/2016
    good job!!
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Product Information : Shooting For Socrates (DVD)

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Product Details

Sub Genre: Football

DVD Region: DVD

Classification: Parental Guidance

Production Year: 2014

EAN: 5060238031707

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Listed on Ciao since: 09/02/2016