Starring: Tim Roth, Sam Neill, Thomas Kretschmann
Director: Frédéric Auburtin
Running Time: 109 mins
United Passions is a French film about the history of world football governing body FIFA, from its humble beginnings at the turn of the 20th Century to a worldwide force, where one daring man named Sepp Blatter seeks to rid the corporation of all dishonesty that threatens to bring it down.
This is nothing short of painful propaganda. It starts off fine, when it’s just about the history of FIFA, but as soon as Mr. Blatter appears, it turns into one of the worst-written, worst-acted, most preachy and most obviously biased and untrue films you’ll ever see.
Let’s start on the bright side of things, however. The first forty minutes, where we learn about the beginning of FIFA and the story of President Jules Rimet, aren’t horrific. It’s still seriously boring to watch, coupled with the fact that the script is as cheesy as anything, but in truth, it’s not too preachy, and the costume design in the 1900s-1940s period is actually quite impressive.
However, that’s it. The rest of this film is an abomination.
The thing that is really surprising about this film is how decent actors give such terrible performances. That’s largely due to the writing, which appears to have been written by Mr. Blatter himself, and is therefore as convincing as a flying pig, and as interesting as drying paint, however even so, top actors including Sam Neill and Tim Roth give terrible performances as two FIFA presidents, and they are both unconvincing (seeing as their accents are so bad) and just dull to watch.
The obviousness of the propaganda here is also hilarious. It’s brilliantly ironic how this film depicts Sepp Blatter as the ultimate angel who is fighting to battle all corruption in FIFA, and everyone else as seemingly dastardly bent officials who want to have him gone because he won’t play ball. Basically, Blatter sees himself as Serpico.
What’s more is that the characterisation in this film is really poor. Whilst Blatter’s character is excessively good, other characters, such as former president Joäo Valerange, and every English person is a bad guy, but for no real reason.
That’s one thing that also has to be addressed, the depiction of the English. For some reason, the English, throughout the entire film, from 1904 to 2004, are depicted as racist, snobbish, corrupt and backward people in comparison to the glorious Europeans, which, if you are English, will make your blood boil.
Finally, the structure of this film is terrible. It follows a narrative over the course of 100 years, but throughout, it jumps all over the place, flying through decades at the speed of light, but spending far too much time on the dull administrative problems that FIFA thought would be an interesting topic for a movie, and whilst it also contains random cutaway scenes to do some symbolism (which doesn’t work), the worst thing is that this ends so abruptly in 2004, completing 109 completely incomprehensible minutes that you shouldn’t have ever put yourself through, and that’s why this gets a 2.3 from me.