Monday, March 30, 2009

The Damned Athletic

FILM REVIEW: The Damned Athletic (15) is a powerful new movie about Les Reed's forty days as manager of Charlton Athletic. It's undeniably a triumph.

Reed (Michael Sheen) is portrayed as a tortured and misunderstood genius, whose unique methods were not readily accepted by his pampered players.

On his first day, Reed starts on the wrong foot by telling his new charges that they could throw all their medals away, because they won them by cheating.

His assistant Mark Robson (Timothy Spall) whispers softly in his ear, "Gaffer, they don't have any medals."

Seemingly unimpressed by his famous achievements with Woodford Town and Wealdstone FC, the squad fails to respond to Reed's increasingly desperate motivational techniques, as defeat follows inevitable defeat.

In the film's darkest moment, Sheen superbly interprets Reed's sadness after devastating defeat by Wycombe, yet also his absolute certainty that he will turn the ship around. It's not surprising that some intepreted it as arrogance.

Alone with Robson deep in the bowels of The Valley, and with the sounds of "Reed Out!" clearly audible from the fans above, he states simply in vintage fashion, "Next up is Middlesbrough. We could do with three points there."

In another brilliant scene as the film draws to its inescapable conclusion, Reed's legendary man management is demonstrated as he dares to tell the club's star player he's not playing against Liverpool.

"Hughesy," he explains, "'ll be on the bench on Saturday." Stunning.


At 9:15 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Cheered me up - thanks NYA.

At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bit of a soft target, isn't he, NYA.
Not a top-flight manager, perhaps, but a top-class coach who, Curbishley acknowledges in his autobiography, helped us to secure a place in the premiership. Les Reed was 100 per cent Charlton and he deserves better than this.

At 9:41 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Maybe so, but he was in charge for 40 days which tied in nicely with the film analogy (Clough was given four more days by Leeds).

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

Seriously I think if Reed had 4 more days he would have turned it around and gone on to lift the European Cup :-)

At 5:40 AM, Blogger Ken Jennings said...

Now, now, CA. Thats nearly as daft as the 'Rickster' trying to tout a Highlights DVD ;-)


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