It is no secret that football films are not always taken seriously. Escape to Victory was perhaps one of the best, but John Huston (behind the camera) had never even watched a football match and didn’t know how many players were on each side.
Despite improvements in special effects, capturing the skill and spontaneity of the real game is very hard in a staged environment, yet movies that are about football have become more respectable as of late. One such was the film about Eric Cantona.
Ken Loach’s “Looking for Eric,” the story of a postman in Manchester’s imaginary friendship with the center forward who retired from professional football in 1997 and had taken to painting, philosophy, playing the trumpet, acting and producing since.
The film has footage of a few of his best goals, played over a wonderful film score from George Fenton. The goals, some extremely skillful, will not just bring smiles to the faces of football fans, but will also drift into the movie high points in the postman’s life.
As much as this movie is about a postman who dreams Cantona to life, it is also a Ken Loach film. The director has been a fan of football for a long time and he has created a successful brand and following.
Here, Loach works with Barry Ackroyd, who stays true to the usual realist vision of a working Britain while also managing to make among his least characteristic films.
In the movie, Cantona appears to the postman each night and accompanies him around on his rounds. This is a strange movie by any standard and has two halves, one with comedy and the other with inner-city gun crime.
It might not be subtle or nostalgic, but it is certainly one of the most popular movies Loach has made since 1964. A must watch for every football fan.