UNITED (UK) Review

United (BBC)

UNITED (UK) Review – Even if you’re not a football fan you’ve probably heard of the Busby Babes and the Munich air disaster which claimed the lives of eight players. United looks at that 1957/58 team with a focus on Bobby Charlton, who joined the team in 1957 and was a survivor of the plane crash.

Visually, United follows in the footsteps of the BBCs other recent films in being aesthetically pleasing with gorgeous sets, a wonderful use of colour and lighting. The casting was brilliant and full of young British talent – especially Jack O’Connell and Sam Claflin (soon to be seen in the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie) – and some established favourites, such as David Tennant, Tim Healy and Dougray Scott. My only complaint is with the latters Scottish accent, which sounded very Russian Bond villain-esque at times and was occasionally hard to understand.

It’s hard to judge the actual plot though. As a film based on real events, it was engrossing and tearjerking, but as a film in its own right United was actually quite weak. We flitted from scene to scene without getting much depth from each character. I’d even go as far as to say that David Tennant stole the show as Jimmy Murphy, the assistant manager who pulled a team together inside of two weeks in a bid to keep United in play.

For a film about a football team there was very little football onscreen. We saw a little of training and some trials in the last third, and while this was probably done for timing and to avoid tarnishing the real players brilliant on-pitch activities by emulating them on screen, it felt to me to defeat the purpose of the film. If we’re watching to see a great team and the birth of a great player (Charlton), why didn’t we get to see what they were great for?

Overall an engaging and emotional watch that could have been better but is still worth a viewing.

What did you think of United? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter @crossroadsdeal