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netribution > features > reviews > mike bassett: england manager

by Marc Allen | september 17th, 2001

Mike Bassett: England Manager

No one will take England’s national hot seat, so Mike Basset, Norwich City’s recent "Mr Clutch Cup" winning manager, has somehow been selected as the new England football manager.

This film’s mockumentary style gave the facility of voice over, which quickly and hilariously established the world and story thus far in the opening minutes, with obvious reference to the football world so popular in reality. Silly quotes from past national managers punctuate the film’s progress from gag to gag. To gag. To gag. It soon becomes clear that this is what the film relies on. Mike’s son is taunted at school. Cue gag. The manager is on anti-depressants. Cue gag ( a brilliant one granted). This wasn’t enough though. It needs more moments with characters, a few fears, a bit of pain, something to identify with rather than the barrage of comedy set-ups, some excellent, some obvious, that became the film. Dare I say it tried to be too funny?

But just as you are giving up hope, the only stirring moment in the film crashes home with devastating effect, driving the film on to an excellently indulgent conclusion. It’s the closest a British film could get to the "Independence Day" speech. And it was great.

The film makers must be elated that the national team are doing well as this film could be deemed as insult to injury if they weren’t. Football fans will love it but the lack of depth means few others will. Let’s just say it’s not a great date movie. Also export to the lucrative US market will be a giant challenge.

Ricky Tomlinson was excellent as Mike Bassett and the rest of the cast gave the best performances their characters afforded. The games were very convincing, a product of sharp digital compositing, clever use of angles and some lovely stylised split screen work.

Match analysis; Started strong but became a bit predictable as the game went on. Wonderful finishing though. Man of the Match: Ricky Tomlinson.


Mike Bassett - England Manager

Film Council & Entertainment Film Distributors

Director Steve Barron
Producer Neil Peplow & Steve Barron
Screenplay Rob Sprackling & J R N Smith
Starring; Ricky Tomlinson, Amanda Redman, Bradley Walsh, Phillip Jackson & Pele.

Certificate - 15
Release Date - September 28th 2001.


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