The Match


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Match
"For a feelgood movie, it is surprisingly slow." | Photo: Universal Studios

Characters make village life. Them and a good yarn. Recreating such a thing is not as easy as it looks. Waking Ned and Local Hero are the exceptions, rather than the rule. Every stereotype from every glen is here, plus imports, such as Richard E Grant (more later) and a glut of English actors speaking tartan.

Writer-director, Mike Davis, Glasgow-born and Hollywood trained (scribe on Another Nine and Half Weeks - the forgotten sequel), has invented a village, not unlike the one in Dancing At Lughnasa. Except this is in Galloway and doesn't contain real people.

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When not being soft with kindly drunks and shy young lovers, he concentrates on the game in hand, a soccer match between two pubs, which has been going since lace-up leather balls and long shorts. If the useless team (good guys) lose again, they forfeit their premises.

Gorgeous Gus is the dandy who trains the favourites and owns the rival watering hole, the one no one goes to. Grant plays him with an accent out of a packet, as if auditioning for a knockabout farce. Even ex-topless model, Sam Fox, who stands about looking chesty, is less embarrassing.

For a feelgood movie, it is surprisingly slow. The handsome young milkman, Wullie (Max Beesley), is frightfully nice, squeakily boring and annoyingly unambitious. He fancies the farmer's daughter (Laura Fraser), who is back from college for a lie down. With the encouragement of the boozy crowd, and against his better judgment, he becomes manager of the Useless Team.

Somewhere in this predictable, sentimental, unoriginal film, actors of quality (Ian Holm, Bill Paterson, Tom Sizemore, David Hayman, Iain Robertson, Isla Blair, Neil Morrissey) waste their time. As for the match, who cares? In Cliché City, everything is predestined. No prizes for guessing who wins.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The Match packshot
Two village footy teams take part in a grudge match, with the boozers on the line.
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Director: Mick Davis

Writer: Mick Davis

Starring: Max Beesley, Laura Fraser, Richard E Grant, Isla Blair, James Cosmo, David Hayman, Ian Holm, Neil Morrissey, David O'Hara, Bill Paterson, Iain Robertson, Tom Sizemore

Year: 1999

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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If you like this, try:

Grow Your Own
Local Hero
Up 'N' Under