Take a Drink: for high-minded pronouncements about Soccer
Take a Drink: every time the score swells to ersatz-dramatic speechs
Drink a Shot: each time a character specifically reminds you that what you’re watching is Historically Important
Take a Drink: whenever something racist is done by a British person, because the only racists in the world of FIFA are British.
Take a Drink: any time an actually historical event is referenced, but not shown.
Drink a Shot: every time the film cuts to the multiracial-cultural soccer game being played by children of all backgrounds. Because in case you didn’t remember Soccer is IMPORTANT.
By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Six Pack) –
The History of the first 100 years of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is charted through the lives of 3 of the organization’s leaders; Jules Rimet (Gérard Depardieu), João Havelange (Sam Neill), and Sepp Blatter (Tim Roth).
Editor’s note: all references to “Football” have hereto-forth been translated to “Soccer” because this is Uh-Merka.
In case you didn’t know, United Passions is happy to remind you that the reason Soccer is such an important sport is due to the actions of a bunch of wealthy white businessmen.
United Passions was released with absolutely the worst timing of any movie in history, just as an investigation into FIFA’s corruption resulted in numerous arrests due to racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering, also resulting in the suspension of accused FIFA chairman Sepp Blatter, who ironically serves as the film’s social conscience.
None of the above issues matter though, because of course United Passions is a 100% historically accurate portrayal of FIFA that tells all, right? Oh… you mean the film is almost entirely funded by FIFA? Oh…. ohhhhhhh.
This first beer goes to Sam Neill and Tim Roth, who accepted the paychecks they were offered. Tim Roth gets off easy, because his performance is so visibly shaped by the absurdity of this farce that he breaks a knowing smile in just about every scene. I prefer to think Roth is continually breaking character, but that the director and producers were so up their own ass that they interpreted it as depth of performance.
Sam Neill, on the other hand, looks haggard, as if he is struggling with the moral dilemma of playing a part in white-washing the questionable history of the organization. I just feel sorry for him through most of the film.
This is the sort of historical drama where the characters talk highly of what they’re doing, commenting endlessly on the importance of the moment, as the music swells romantically and the camera slowly tightens on its lead characters. But a film like United Passions, which somehow cost as much as $30 million to make, also quite quizzically never shows the important event. Instead, the characters will be shown walking through or sitting at a table in a lavishly adorned building. They approach each other and exclaim how important “X” event is that they just witnessed. In a rare instance they will cut to archival footage. The only exception being near the end, where the producers saw fit to stage a couple of press conferences which… feature the character sitting at a table in a lavishly adorned building…
Gérard Depardieu can’t seem to decide on a voice. In an attempt by the French actor to play a French person, he varies so wildly as to be classified as “Vaguely European”. Through most of his scenes in the film, his dialogue is incomprehensible. Unable to tell from the film what his character’s name was, I gave him a name befitting his cross-cultural accent.
All of this story is wrapped-around by images of a multicultural game of Soccer played by children of all races and creeds. It is one of the most obvious pieces of low-rent “message” symbolism in cinematic history, undercut by the message the film delivers that they’re playing a sport owned by wealthy businessmen.
This last beer is pure speculation, but there is no way this movie should have cost $30 million to make, or even $20 million. So I’m assuming United Passions was yet another way for FIFA to wash away dirty money by sinking it into a venture they knew was doomed to fail. I cannot prove this allegation, so here’s that picture of the Chimpanzee again…
The movie even digs its own grave by showing how the glad-handing of FIFA’s numerous members plays a part in the way any and all decisions like “which country can host the World Cup” are made.