Eye For Film >> Movies >> In The Hands Of The Gods (2007) Film Review
Five British lads have a dream of going to Argentina and meeting their idol, Diego Maradona. They don’t have any money, but they do have skills. They are “freestylers,” which means they can do things with a football that make the keepy-up record holder at your local weekend parks team look like a hamster at the circus.
After blagging freebie tickets to the Big Apple, they hustle dollars on the streets by doing their footie tricks and telling their story of wanting to go to South America. They travel to L A where competition with buskers and movie character lookalikes is fiercer and street theatre takes on a more edgy tone.
Finally, they reach crunch point. There is only enough money for two to make the flight to Buenos Aires. “We didn’t earn enough and we spent too much,” Jeremy says. “No complaints.” They put names into a hat. Danny and Sami are the lucky ones, and then Danny gives his ticket to Woody because Woody was the instigator of the project and cares the most about Diego. Woody and Sami leave. The others stay behind until Mikey decides to go it alone after making $300 in a bar and refusing to share.
Being a documentary, it is difficult to forget about the presence of a cameraman and a director, who could be manipulating things to the boys’ advantage. Also, certain questions remain unanswered. Why did they go to L A and afterwards Las Vegas? Amongst the scummy busklife of Manhattan, with their skills, Limey accents, youth, originality and clean clothes, they should have accumulated the air fares in no time at all.
Their achievement, their adventure, their passion for football is admirable and it is this that drives the film. First impressions change as situations move forward. Woody assumes leadership and yet becomes more nervous as the quest rushes towards a conclusion. Jeremy’s freestyling is exceptional. He can captivate a crowd with eye popping ball control for as long as he wants, but somehow lacks Mikey’s confidence and bravura, despite a shy and beatific politeness. Danny is oddly opaque, inscrutable, emotionally enclosed, while Sami is right out there, an immigrant from Somalia, who has been in prison twice for theft and has a desperately sad relationship with his mother, who refuses to talk to him.
Ultimately, it is the boys, rather than Diego, who matter most and, with the exception of Sami and, possibly, Mikey, whose Scouse insecurities feed his selfish soul, they lack the fire that burns in the memory. Jeremy could have been a star and yet fades in the Californian heat (“I know I haven’t got much more to give. I feel exhausted”), as the sun goes down over Argentina and Maradona steps onto a plane to Peru.Reviewed on: 23 Jan 2008