Eye For Film >> Movies >> Death Of A Gentleman (2015) Film Review
Cricket may be an incomprehensible bore to those who don't understand the difference between a test match and Twenty/20 and yet remains the second most watched game in the world, according to these guys.
Who are these guys? Old Etonian Sam Collins and Aussie blogger Jarrod Kimber whose sartorial style includes multi-coloured baggy shorts and T-shirts from the charity pile. They appear at first sight to be a Dumb And Dumber tribute act - jokers, buddies, amateurs.
But hey! They made this movie. What's more they uncovered a scandal that made FIFA's greed guzzlers look like brothers in arms. Their film resembles Mugabe And The White African in the sense that it tells its story in real time.
What were they trying to do, these inexperienced doc dorks? They asked a simple question, expecting a simple answer (some hope): is test cricket dying in the face of commercialism and the Twenty/20 revolution?
They took a flight to Oz "with a crew and a camera and no clue what to do" and hitched up with Ed Cowan, an up-and-coming 27-year-old batsman who, during the movie's gestation, was picked for his national team.
They talk of "precious things that are lost along the way," such as the principal of fair play. Actually, it turns out to be worse than that - far worse. In pursuit of money and power, the game has been compromised and abused beyond hope.
Collins and Kimber go to India where Twenty/20 has become an entertainment of Bollywood proportions, attracting massive crowds, sexy cheer leaders and the showbiz cavalcade beloved by America.
The cash accumulated from international TV rights and the Indian Premier League, where players receive footballers' wages, is counted in billions. Smaller countries are pushed to the corners and left with scraps.
The big three - India, Australia, England - have syphoned off the bulk of the money, with cement tycoon N Srinivasan dominating the governing body, repressing accusations of match fixing as flea bites on the body politic. One of the villains of the piece is Giles Clarke, chairman of the England & Wales Cricket Board, whose arrogant attitude towards the filmmakers resembles a legacy of imperialism that should have been blackballed decades ago.
What began as an investigation into the welfare of test cricket ends as a chilling expose of how bad governance has been responsible for "shrinking the sport we love".
Death Of A Gentleman is neither incomprehensible nor boring, rather a brave and shocking statement of the blinding obvious - success drives money and money corrupts.
Fair play? Check out the archives. Or the village green.Reviewed on: 26 Oct 2015