Take a Drink: every time Eric Bishop talks to Eric Cantona (literally or figuratively)
Take a Drink: for every goal made (literally or figuratively)
Take a Drink: for psychiatry (professional or amateur)
Do a Shot: what, a gun?
Do a Shot: for magical weed
By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
If you’re a football fan (world, not American of course), you know who Eric Cantona is. If you’re not so much, or you just like blowing a World Cup Bracket spectacularly like me (I picked… Spain), then some explanation is required. Eric Cantona is a French forward widely considered one of the most talented players of all time. His storied career with powerhouse Manchester United nearly came to an end early, however, after he got in a fistfight with a fan, and he was also known for odd turns of phrase during interviews.
Absent from most bios, though, are his magic powers.
Looking for Eric is about the world’s biggest Eric Cantona fan, also named Eric (one played by The Fall bassist Steve Evets) who gets in a car wreck, smokes some weed, and discovers that he can literally speak to Eric Cantona. Naturally, Cantona sets about helping him fix the many things in his sad-sack life that have gone to pot since he left his wife. Also, there’s a sub (main?) plot about a drug dealer forcing his stepson to keep a pistol for him.
As odd and disjointed as that synopsis sounds, the film comes together better than it has any right to mostly due to Ken Loach’s light, Cinéma vérité – influenced directorial hand and the natural talent and camaraderie of his game cast. Evets is the central character, and carries the dramatic load excellently, but his performance wouldn’t have been possible without the ample support of the rest of the cast. Looking for Eric is ultimately a film about a community (or “team” if you will) banding together to support one of their own.
Soccer hooligans aren’t usually so… constructive.
You could draw some broad conclusions about football and the English psyche from Looking for Eric, but honestly the film doesn’t really delve into this too deeply. That makes the whole Eric Cantona shtick nothing more than an amusing magic realist touch that doesn’t meld a tall with the decidedly unheightened reality of the rest of the film. Loach seems to acknowledge this by basically ignoring Cantona once the conflict pops up.
This is a very meandery film, which is great for establishing its characters and setting but feels strange when that drug dealer conflict springs up and becomes the sole focus of the third act. Both parts are done well in their own way (as are the Cantona scenes, really) but they don’t really mesh together very well.
Looking for Eric is a plenty pleasant, diverting, but ultimately weightless familial drama masquerading as a social issues flick.
I can’t wait for the Hollywood remake.