Director: Danny Cannon
Starring: Kuno Becker, Stephen Dilane, Alessandro
Nivola, Anna Friel
RunTime: 2 hrs
Released By: BVI
Day: 6 October 2005
spent muddy days watching young lads beat the hell out of
each other. But once in a while, there’s one that comes
along and lifts your heart.”
Santiago Munez crossed the Mexican border into America at
the age of 10, he had two things in his possession: his soccer
ball and a tattered picture of the World Cup. Working menial
jobs while growing up in Los Angeles, Santiago’s (Kuno
Becker) passion was playing soccer. Convincing his father
that he could be an international football star was another
story: “There are two types of people in this world,”
declares the elder Munez, “People in big houses, and
people like us who cut their lawns and wash their cars.”
when Brit Glen Foy (Stephen Dillane), an amiable former football
player and sometime scout spots Santiago at a local match,
he recognizes a deft, fast and brave footballer—the
kind of talent that the English Premiere League Club, Newcastle
United, is hungry for.
thrust into a foreign land where football is a religion and
Newcastle’s St. James Park its cathedral, this young
Latin American must prove that he’s got the grit and
the game to win a contract with one of the most beloved football
clubs in the world. Muddy fields, cold winds and crunching
blows from teammates—not to mention personal woes, injuries,
and the temptations of life as an international footballer—are
just a few of the obstacles Santiago must overcome to reach
his ultimate “Goal.”
by Danny Cannon (CSI) and set amid the heart-pounding atmosphere
of international football, “Goal!” stars up and
coming Latino actor Kuno Becker. Some of the hottest representatives
from the world of football also appear in the movie, including
David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Raul, and Newcastle captain
The word heard when the ball is firmly tucked away at the
back of the net.
GOAL! The word that sounds melodious even in a cacophony.
GOAL! The one word that can unite the world.
films are far and few to come by. The most recent was Bend
It Like Beckham (2002) which was nominated for a Golden Globe,
the adaptation of Nick Hornby’s cult hit of the same
title, Fever Pitch (1997) and timely classic in the form of
Victory (1981). There are more forgettable fodders that have
been churned out than memorable ones. Thus, never has a football
film been financed with this big a budget ($30 million). If
that’s not enough to impress, a football film of this
epic size has never been made before (a trilogy)! What’s
more, this film has received support from both FIFA and Adidas
(who have managed to rope in David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane
and Gonzalez Blanco Raul. Look out for their cameos!).
Munez’s (Kuno Becker who bears an uncanny resemblance
to Laurent Robert) rags-to-riches (well, not quite yet) tale
of a young Mexican lad from Los Angeles who is talent-spotted
to play football in England is the main premise of the film.
While director Danny Cannon (CSI) has explored the most complex
of cases working on CSI, he chooses to keep things simple
with GOAL! and allow the football to speak for the film. Afterall,
that’s what it’s all about aye?
fans who cannot wait to taste English football on the big
screen must wait. The film unfolds slowly with a telling of
how Santiago’s family came to Los Angeles. This is followed
by a teenage Santiago playing football for his school team.
It is by a stroke of chance that Glen Foy (Stephane Dillane),
former scout of Newcastle United spots Santiago and decides
to help the lad get a trial at the club. Having to bear his
father’s unhappiness over the matter, he fights to get
his opportunity and lands in Newcastle where he trades the
hot and dry grass for cold and muddy ones. As he battles to
win a contract with the club, the audience will be treated
to an inside look at the Newcastle United training grounds
and how trainings are conducted.
the final act of the film, fans of the English Premiere League
are treated to some real Premiership football with Newcastle
taking on the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool, in which the
actual matches were filmed. You’ll be able to spot Alan
Shearer, William Gallas and Steven Gerrard to name a few on
the pitch. Fans would also be delighted to see Martin Tyler,
the voice of English football.
film, while shying away from complexities, regales in telling
things as it is. The moral dilemmas that plague young players
such as the clubbing lifestyle and tabloid scandals are vividly
presented in GOAL! And these are the very pitfalls that tempt
Santiago from football and what seems to be real love. But,
in football, there is one golden rule and that is anything
can happen as long as the referee hasn’t blown the final
whistle. And in the true spirit of never say never in football,
it is the very driving factor of our protagonist in GOAL!
English city of Newcastle serves as a most excellent backdrop
providing viewers with a most picturesque look of the city.
An apt example would be of Santiago jogging on the beach while
the waves rained gently onto him. And what completes football
if not its stadium and fans? The camera does a 360 degree
turn to capture the spirit of St. James Park (the name of
Newcastle United’s stadium) and it immediately gave
me the chills reminding me of that scene in Gladiator in which
Maximus enters the Coliseum for the first time. In doing so,
the camera also captured the passion of the Geordie supporters.
In an interview, the actors mentioned that the fans actually
cheered for them when they ran onto the field to join in the
celebrations after a goal, being treated as one of their own.
Similarly, the nature of the assumption that football is like
a religion can be seen in the way the Geordies love their
football; an example would be supporters taking a break from
work just to catch the game.
GOAL! is not exactly a masterpiece. Critics might complain
about the dearth of actual football or the decision to not
avoid sporting clichés. But this is just the beginning
of a trilogy afterall. I cannot wait to see how it’ll
all work out in the next two films though it’s been
confirmed he’ll be transferred to Real Madrid in the
second one and the third one will feature the 2006 World Cup
in Germany. If it is able to pass the ball by its flaws and
dribble around its critics, it has the burning potential to
score a cracker with football fans worldwide. If so, leading
into 2006, GOAL! should be the ONLY word you hear during the
by Mohamad Shaifulbahri