Believe: Review

A tribute to former Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby, a man devoted to the training of younger people in football, Believe is a sporting drama that follows its generic template down to a tee.

Set in 1984 Manchester, Busby comes across a group of wayward youths when their leader Georgie steals his wallet one day. When Busby finds out that the young thief is a gifted young footballer who needs money to enter a tournament, he offers his services as their coach.

Like almost every other sporting film to come before it, the sport is simply a narrative tool used to tell a human story. This time around its all about death, with both Busby and Georgie coming to terms with tragedy through the game.

The fact that Believe has been released simultaneously in cinemas and on television raises interesting questions; is it a step towards a more personalised film experience, without having to go a cinema filled with popcorn crunching people at a specific time? Or is it really because the film lends itself more to TV rather than the big screen?

A bit of both it would seem; in an age where programmes like Doctor Who make it to the cinema, the distinction between TV and film is becoming a lot harder to define.

Whilst Believe feels more at home on the television (the format of my choice this time), there is still enough style running through it to make it an interesting watch, director David Scheinmann using enough visual flares to keep proceedings fresh.

Despite its industrial setting, the film is actually quite charming and humorous. Its overly saccharine ending does feel a bit out of place considering the rest of the film; characters’ motivations seemingly changing for the sake of it, but with a title like ‘Believe’ I suppose some schmaltz is a given.

The cast is great, Brian Cox and Toby Stephens putting in particularly fine performances, and the use of child actors who actually play the sport in real life helps the film a great deal.

Believe is nothing to shout about but is still worth a watch, especially if you’re a fan of the sport. Having said that, I’m not, but it made me laugh, kept me entertained and impressed me with its solid direction and familial moments.

If you have Sky On Demand, it’s available to watch until Friday or alternatively you can make the trip to the cinema.

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