TL;DR – An interesting proposition; however, the narrative gets muddled and does not recover.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
If there is one genre of films that you can count on to bring the tension, it is the sporting genre, even more so if we are focusing on a single match. This is because there is an in-built timer to all the chaos, you only have 90 minutes in a game, and then there is a winner. You can feel that timer counting down, and will your team win or lose, who knows. The rise of success, the fear of failure, it is a potent combination. Well, today we look at a film that captures all of that.
So to set the scene, we open in the suburbs of Rome with a local football team Sporting Roma that is the heart of the community even though it has never won a ‘bleeping’ thing. On a football pitch that is just dirt, two teams fight a contest that the referee has a very one-sided view of while a coach Claudio Bulla (Francesco Pannofino) screams from the side-line. It is the final with the team facing off against their main rivals from Milan and star player Antonio ‘Anto’ (Gabriele Fiore) is having a bad game. However, as we soon find out, there is more riding on this game than first realise.
One area witch the film does well is the striking visuals it captures throughout the game. At the same time, the fact the club is playing on dirt is a part of the narrative that is not where it works the best. Every kick sprays up a wave of dust into its wake. In punctures every movement, every pass of the ball, and every collision. This is combined with the choice of making the home team’s jersey white so as the game goes on, it gets dirtier and dirtier, which adds to the story.
Another part of the film I liked was the conflict that Anto has to go through with pressure coming from all sides. He has the pressure of history, the pressure of wanting to win, the fear of well not god but god from the Coach. On the other side, you have the pressure of his father, who has made a deal with some people and is forcing his son to lose the match. This internal battle is striking to see, and I have to give full props to Gabriele Fiore for his performance.
One of the big problems with this film is its lack of a consistent tone for the film. It sways from slapstick comedy to real threat of death with sometimes just a hard jump cut in between. You could have managed this huge shift in tone, but they don’t manage it here. As well as this, the core narrative of Anto trying to find his place was the most compelling in the film. However, we continuously dive into plot points and stories that don’t really matter, and they take too long to reveal the framing device.
In the end, do we recommend The Match? Well, unfortunately, I don’t think I can. There are some interesting moments, which create some real tension. However, the narrative struggles and never connects. If you liked The Match, I would also recommend you Ultras.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Match
Directed by – Francesco Carnesecchi
Written by – Francesco Carnesecchi
Music by – Vanni Fiorelli & Alessio Lottero
Cinematography by – Stefano Ferrari
Edited by – Giovanni Pompetti
Production/Distribution Companies – Wrong Way Pictures, Freak Factory, Zenit & Netflix
Starring – Gabriele Fiore, Francesco Pannofino, Alberto Di Stasio, Giorgio Colangeli, Daniele Mariani, Lidia Vitale, Fabrizio Sabatucci, Veruska Rossi, Giada Fradeani, Efisio Sanna, Stefano Ambrogi, Francesca Antonelli, Giulia Cragnotti, Siria Simeoni, Gabriel Montesi, Yaser Mohamed, Paolo Minasi, Mattia Minasi, Riccardo Russo, Alessandro Parrello, Daniele Felici, Stefano Fabrizi & Ivan Filippo
Rating – Australia: M;