One Night In Turin is released across UK cinemas on the 11th May 2010 with a special Charity Premiere with The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and live satellite Q&A hosted by Jim Rosenthal with director James Erskine, author of All Played Out Pete Davies and Italia 90 squad members.
The Q&A will be hosted in the home of Sir Bobby Robson at Newcastles Odeon Metrocentre Cinema and simultaneously screened in UK cinemas across the country through the Arts Alliance network. Audiences will be able to text in questions or submit them in advance through the website. Head over to the film’s official site to see where these special screenings, which start at 8.30pm on Tuesday 11th May, are taking place.
As England fans get ready for the World Cup in South Africa this is a timely look back at the 1990 campaign, Gazzas tears and all. If youre expecting drama, excitement and a penalty shoot-out loss to Germany this summer theres no better way to warm up.
However, this is not just a straight documentary about Englands Italia 90 campaign, rather an attempt to link together the social and economic hardships in the country at the time with the football team. Its not altogether successful in that respect it pretty much abandons the idea when England reach the Quarters but does provide lots of reminders of how the nation was groaning under the weight of a disastrous economic and political system.
The direct result was the poll tax riots, and there is some truly eye-popping images of vicious scenes on the streets of England. One blood-drenched civilian asks Who would think our police force could act with such violence? Clearly England was a jittery place to be, recession-hit, divided and entering a new era of drug culture.
The other big problem was the national football team. Manager Bobby Robson was written off by the press before the World Cup as hopeless, and he was under enormous pressure as the tournament began and even more pressure after a dreadful draw with the Republic of Ireland.
At this point the film decides to portray Fleet Street as a bunch of boozy hacks, desperate for a story, the sleazier the better. A furious Robson nearly walks out of a press conference only to be pulled back by the ineffectual FA rep.
Then England put in a much-improved performance against Holland, qualified to the next stage and the story from here is well-worn Platts wonder volley vs. Belgium, Linekers penalties against Cameroon, outplaying Germany until the penalty shoot-out.
There are two real stars here Robson, who despite at times ridiculous press pressure emerges as a thoroughly decent, bright, passionate man, and Gazza. Its easy to think of him now as a sad, fallen man but he was a fantastic footballer, driving a defensive England forward with every touch, tackling hard and passing beautifully. His tears at being booked merely proved how much it all meant to him. By contrast the villains of the piece are the FA, clueless in defending Robson, and Sports Minister Colin Moynihan, who looks like a wet-behind-the-ears schoolboy on the verge of tears after being told off by teacher.
The film itself is a mixed bag, not helped by Gary Oldmans voicover in which his accent visits Cape Town and Melbourne as well as East London for some reason. Likewise the soundtrack, chosen to reflect the mood of 1990, weirdly includes Joy Divisions Digital (1980).
After Robsons too-early death and Gazzas demise its good to see them up on a screen at their peak two men who desperately wanted England to win the World Cup. Is that such a bad thing?
Overall Verdict: Flawed but fascinating look at Englands 1990 World Cup campaign.
Reviewer: Mike Martin