This movie gathers colleagues and friends over a restaurant table to reflect and reminisce on the record-smashing star from Argentina. It intersperses his accolades with professional and personal footage that recreates scenes of his upbringing. Anyone who is looking for a real peek into his life is going to be disappointed. But considering access wasn’t granted to the player for this movie, as a celebration, it is a winner.
One of the most enduring images from the 2014 World Cup was that of Messi, holding his player of the tournament trophy as Argentina lost to Germany in the final. The World Cup is the only thing Messi has failed to conquer. It’s a crack in the player’s iconography which this movie doesn’t quite get into.
One of the problems faced by the director here is that Messi usually comes across as accepting but isn’t very interesting and lacks any sort of exciting draw. He is shy, nice, loves his family and is blessed with a talent which the movie doesn’t even explore. Perhaps the only blemish on his flawless reputation is his recent tax problems, but that too is glossed over quickly in a sort of nobody’s perfect kind of way.
Basically, this story is a combination of determination, talent, and luck. His only stumbling block is that he was deficient for a particular growth hormone when he was born. This meant he needed costly medication. Had Barcelona not recognized his talent and had his family not made huge sacrifices, there would probably be no Messi today. The script tries to seize on this narrative desperately to create some sort of drama.
The distinctiveness you would expect from an Alex de la Iglesia’s movie is absent here. What remains are excellent editing and visual cleverness to make staged footage appear old. The orchestral background music has been over-employed too and dictated the mood of the entire movie.