Goal! 2: Living the Dream

Goal! 2: Living the Dream


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The truth about footie is that young lads get paid silly money in the top European leagues and are expected to obey their authoritarian leaders, who wear expensive suits, scowl a lot and call themselves Head Coach, or Manager. Also, they must behave in a responsible manner, as regards drugs, drink and dames – or else. Or else, what? There isn’t a story.

Goal! 2 sets an excellent example to all those exploitative movies that use taut tummies, testosterone and the killer instinct to indulge in designer sex and acts of gratuitous violence, fuelled by vodka and cocaine. For the teenage Mexican striker, bought from Newcastle United by Real Madrid, doing a George Best and partying till the break of dawn is so Sixties as to be irrelevant.

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Jaume Collet-Serra’s film avoids obvious emotional hooks, although in football that is difficult, because critical championship games are, by their very nature, passionate – someone has to kick the winning goal. Is it going to be your boy, brought on from the bench for the last five minutes, or David Beckham?

Santiago (Santi) Munez (Kuno Becker) cares about his game, his fiancée Roz (Anna Friel) and making the Spanish transfer a success. He even retains his Geordie agent (Stephen Dillane), whose day job is fixing cars at the garage. For Santi, Madrid is not so much out of this world as off the planet. The press coverage, the media interest, the invitations, the fascination from fans and females alike is intoxicating, not that he drinks, not yet.

Certain things are inevitable. Roz, a nurse, is not going to fit in with the après match crowd. She finds herself rattling around the minimalist mansion Santi bought outside Madrid, while he spends days away training. That’s just the start. There is a sub plot, waiting to break the surface, concerning his mother (Elizabeth Pena), who abandoned the family when Santi was a child and now runs a bar with her Spanish husband in a working-class area of the city.

The football is well handled, although every locker room scene has to have Beckham with his top off – to admire the tattoos? The treatment of Santi by the manager (Rutger Hauer) is realistic and his friendship with Gavin Harris (Alessandro Nivola), an English striker, who is older and desperately in need of goals to keep his place on the team, feels right, if a little too considerate.

As sequels go, this stands proud, aided by an intelligent script and a mature, sensitive performance from Becker.

The final score?

Expectation 0 Living The Dream 2.

Reviewed on: 10 Feb 2007
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Santi Munez goes to Real Madrid and struggles with his love life and fights for a place on the team.
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Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Adrian Butchart, Mike Jefferies, Terry Loane

Starring: Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel, Stephen Dillane, Rutger Hauer, Elizabeth Pena, Alfredo Rodriguez, Leonor Varela, Frances Barber, Miriam Colon, David Beckham

Year: 2007

Runtime: 115 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: UK


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