Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Fri 24 August 2007

SPAOTP Movie Review: In The Hands Of The Gods

You'd think given the hundreds of millions of people around the world who follow football that there'd be more movies on the subject, wouldn't you? Well thankfully there's one about to hit your cinema, and believe me it's well worth watching.

It's called In The Hands Of The Gods and it's a fly-on-the-wall documentary that follows five young football freestylers from England whose ambition is to meet one of the legends of the game - Diego Maradona. The trouble is they've only got enough money to fly to New York and they need to get to Buenos Aires.

The story of how they do it is an entertaining and moving one. Mikey from Liverpool, Sami from Leeds and Danny, Paul and Jeremy from London use their football skills and tricks to busk their way through the United States, Mexico and South America. Though they set out very much as a team with a common goal, their unity becomes fractured along the way as personal grievances and abject adversity start to come to the surface.

Their story is one which plays to many of the human emotions. Firstly and very quickly we get to know about the five men as individuals, their backgrounds and the skills they've developed since entering the exciting world of football freestyling. Though you may not know what freestyling is by definition, the sheer awe-inspiring displays put on by each of our subjects leaves you in no doubt about its appeal and ability to inspire wonderment.

Next we're heartened by their team spirit - the sheer 'one for all and all for one'-ness they exude as they head off to the USA proclaiming "the Americans will be buzzing over our freestyle." To reach Argentina and Maradona, it's essential they are, for it's the American public who'll be bankrolling their airline tickets for the second half of their journey.

Despair soon follows. Despite performing on seemingly every street corner to hundreds of appreciative passers-by, they find they simply haven't generated enough cash to enable all of them to progress into Mexico. It triggers a turn of events that sends us on an emotional rollercoaster with our five heroes as they come to terms with the possibility of losing their dream and their friendships.

With everything that's going on in the film, it's hardly surprising that the 100 minute duration absolutely flies by. There's much to see, hear and feel throughout whether it's Mikey's Scouse humour, the beautiful scenery of the Americas or the passion shown by each of the individuals. It's actually hard to find fault with the film, so my advice is to go see it yourself if you need reassurance of how good it really is. Failing that, get it on DVD when its released - you'll want to watch it again and again.

In The Hands Of The Gods appears in cinemas nationwide from September 14th 2007 (Certificate 15).

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