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"Build me up" by Tony Hadley
Despite being stuffed with cliches, When Saturday Comes is emotionally rewarding experience, and not only for those viewers who are in love with the most popular sport in the world.
WHEN SATURDAY COMES (1995)
A Film Review
Copyright Dragan Antulov 2002
If someone wants to go to cinema to watch some big budget sport dramas, the sport in question is most likely to be baseball. This is so even in Europe, the continent where perhaps only one in ten thousand people have some grasp about basic rules and what the game is all about. Some might argue that the domination of baseball in Hollywood movies is just another proof of American cultural imperialism. The most popular sport in the world - football (soccer) - is visibly absent from American movies. Yet the very same game is also absent from the films produced in countries like UK, Brazil or Italy or similar places where football represents the
way of life. The reason for this could be found in the game itself rather than American cultural imperialism. Unlike baseball, the most exciting moments in football game are very difficult to capture on camera or digest into dramaturgically convincing way. One example of this could be found in WHEN SATURDAY COMES,
1995 British drama directed by Maria Giese.
The plot of the film is set in Sheffield, industrial town in the northern England where many local boys dream of playing for local football club Sheffield United. Many years ago one of those boys was Jimmy Muir (played by Sean Bean), but those childhood dreams are now only a distant illusion. Jimmy, who never respected uthority, is burdened with dead-end job in the brewery, while his father Joe (played by John McEnery) is hopeless
gambling addict. The only two things that help Jimmy in making through the day are beer and football games with his pub mates. During one of those games he is spotted by Ken Jackson (played by Pete Postlethwaite), manager of Elm, local non-league team. Jimmy there plays brilliantly and Jackson gets him the opportunity
of the life time - trial for Sheffield United. For Jimmy the pressure is too much and instead of being physically and mentally prepared, he spends the night before trial getting with his friends.
Despite having its plot set in working-class neighbourhood of Northern England - setting that became something of a trademark of 1990s British cinema, thanks to films like BILLY ELIOTT, BRASSED OFF and FULL MONTY - this owes much more to the Hollywood films like ROCKY and uses many of their cliches. The plot has been seen thousand times - underdog must overcome his social and psychological disadvantages by winning the decisive sports event against the odds. Director Maria Giese and her co-writer James Daly try to cover this by reminding the audience of unenviable social conditions of Northern England, but those efforts
backfire, since some of the plot twists seem simply too melodramatic (and quite predictable). There is also the obligatory romantic subplot involving Jimmy's girlfriend Anny Doherty (played by Emily Lloyd) - character probably introduced only to make Jimmy more likeable. But biggest and the least convincing melodrama happens at the end, in the final game that consists of couple of intensely dramatic moments, which look staged to anyone who had watched more than couple of football games in his life.
What rescues this film from mediocrity are couple of great acting performances. Sean Bean, British actor who usually played villains in Hollywood movies, is incredibly convincing as working class man who tries to hide his own imperfections and insecurities with tough attitudes. Pete Postlethwaite is also very good as his good-natured mentor, while John McEnery gives quite moving performance of an old man afflicted with a nasty habit. In the end, despite being stuffed with cliches, WHEN SATURDAY COMES is emotionally rewarding experience, and not only for those viewers who are in love with the most popular sport in the world.
RATING: 6/10 (++)
Review written on November 19th 2002
Source: Rotten Tomatoes
"When saturday comes" is a movie I wont forget easily.Its about courage and choices you take that affect your life.Its incredibly touching in some moments and makes you feel compassion for Jimmy Muir.He is a guy who wanted to play football,but was refused the chance as a teenager and instead has to go the grey worker road to support himself.Then suddenly the chance he wanted 10 years ago is right there ahead of him.But he feels what most of us felt when we first got our career breaks-he's afraid and unsecure.So he drowns himself in drinking and other excesses to try and make the fear go away.But it doesnt work that way.Instead he loses the chance he so much wanted and is back on the grey dirty road again.
The football field here has a symbolic meaning.Its the way out of his grey everyday,a bright road that leads away from it to a better life.Thats what makes this movie so poignant.For Jimmy Muir there is no other way to have a happy life.After losing both his brother and his girl,he is desperate and thinks life has no meaning anymore.But then he remembers what his brother said that symbolises the true spirit.That you have to give your best in order to succeed in life and never give in for your fear.
Sean Bean was great in this film.The recent years i have been admiring him more and more and this film is a good reason to do it.Pete Postlethwaite and Emily Loyd make a great supporting cast.This is a movie to remember.8 out of 10.