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A Shot at Glory (2000) June 28, 2005

Posted by Dragan Antulov in Film Reviews.
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A Film Review

Copyright Dragan Antulov 2005

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world today, but its popularity didn’t manifest itself on the silver screen. There are relatively few soccer-themed films, and even fewer are those that involve use of American acting talent. Judging by A SHOT AT GLORY, 2000 drama directed by Michael Corrente, those films will continue to be rare.

The plot is set in Scotland, small country whose soccer league with sectarian-filled rivalry between Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic is well-known beyond British Isles. This rivalry doesn’t affect FC Kilnockie, a lower division club whose American owner Peter Cameron (played by Michael Keaton) threatens to have it sold to Ireland unless the results are improved. For the old coach Gordon McLeod (played by Robert Duvall) the only way to avoid the disaster is national cup competition. The underpaid team is boosted with the arrival of a former Celtic player Jackie McQuillan (played by Ally McCoist) who also happens to be ex-husband of McLeod’s estranged daughter Kate (played by Kirsty Mitchell).

Even at old age, Robert Duvall doesn’t shy away from trying new things, and A SHOT AT GLORY is one of them. Like always, he gives more than solid performance and tackles Scottish accent convincingly. Real-life Glasgow Rangers player Ally McCoist is also very good in his acting debut. Unfortunately, Dennis O’Neill’s script isn’t that good when it comes to reconciling realities of European soccer with conventions of American sports movies. The plot is filled with clichés – athletes that have to learn important moral lessons, old coach who exercises ghosts of the past, underdogs fighting their way to the big final game, obligatory romance etc. Because of those clichés film is very predictable and even the “surprise” ending isn’t that surprising. Wonderful Scottish scenery does help a little in alleviating those problems, but not enough. Characters played by Michael Keaton and Cole Hauser seem to be introduced only to have the film marketable in USA, thus depriving A SHOT AT GLORY of its realism. Corrente also can’t solve the problem of having 90 minutes of soccer being realistically portrayed in feature film which also makes A SHOT AT GLORY look more like a standard Hollywood product than celebration of Beautiful Game.

RATING: 4/10 (+)



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