In the Hands of the Gods
Forget the ‘Brand Beckham’ circus bringing ‘soccer’ to the States. This journey of five working-class football freestylers who pitch up in New York to busk their way to their idol (the devious genius Diego Maradona, in Argentina) captures the genuine love of the game.
Undeterred by kicking off in the wrong continent, our wonderfully mismatched quintet (failed pros Woody and Danny, mouthy Scouser Mikey, serene, devout Jeremy and volatile immigrant Sami) showboat across the Americas, refusing to let personality clashes, financial woes and general social cluelessness get in the way of their dream of shaking ‘the Hand of God’.
As a fly-on-the-ball documentary, brothers Ben and Gabe Turner’s directorial debut admirably displays the impartial eye most commentators abandoned pre-Sky Sports. Their charges’ dazzling freestyle routines fizz off the screen, although the pacing, more Premier League full-pelt than patient continental build-up, sacrifices the grittier, more cultured aspects of the adventure. Still, amid football’s relentless self-hype and corruption, such a genuinely exhilarating underdog story demands you raise your arms aloft in triumph. Except you, Diego. (Leigh Singer)