Sporting Hollywood puts soccer movie in ring with boxing heavyweight

9th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

DEAUVILLE, France, Sept 8 (AFP) - 'Cinderella Man', Russell Crowe's big-budget boxing movie, found its heavyweight crown under threat at the Deauville film festival Thursday by an upstart movie that puts soccer on the big screen.

DEAUVILLE, France, Sept 8 (AFP) - 'Cinderella Man', Russell Crowe's big-budget boxing movie, found its heavyweight crown under threat at the Deauville film festival Thursday by an upstart movie that puts soccer on the big screen.

'Goal', directed by London-born Danny Cannon, runs a rare game: starting in Mexico, it goes from Los Angeles to the British city of Newcastle as it tells the story of a young Mexican whose talent with the ball takes him to the top in football-mad England.

At Deauville, which is, after all, a festival about US cinema, the movie stands out like a red card, with its appeal likely to be found more in Europe and Latin America than in the United States.

Whereas 'Cinderella Man', which screened earlier in the festival, hits all the right notes in a professional, even predictable, manner as it charts the rise of the Depression-era boxer James Braddock, 'Goal' generated greater enthusiasm for its similar though more involving storyline and more satisfying characterisations.

Famous players David Beckham and Zinadine Zidane make small cameos, but a planned appearance by Zidane at the French festival in this Normandy town failed to pan out.

Cannon, who directed 'Judge Dredd' and the horror spoof 'I Still Know What You Did Last Summer', displayed his humour early on in the movie by making a sly nod to one of his first films, 'The Young Americans', by calling an amateur Mexican soccer team in Los Angeles 'Los Americanos Jovenes'.

The lead actor, an unknown named Kuno Becker, plays Santiago, a young Mexican who dreams of football glory even as he helps his father tend to the gardens of the LA wealthy.

Discovered by a former player from Britain, he soon finds himself on the reserves -- and then the front bench -- of 'Newcastle United', while trying to reconcile his father's rejection and the perils of fame.

Many critics felt the soccer movie dealt a KO punch to 'Cinderella Man', directed by Ron Howard, though others saw it as a draw.

"They are identical. Completely the same sort of movie," said one reviewer after the screening who declined to give his name.

"'Cinderella Man' was very classic in its approach, framing American themes like the fighting spirit, but 'Goal' was very similar," he said.

Neither of the sports movies figure in Deauville's competition section, but both look set to score, at least on their respective home turfs.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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