Football films are a difficult category to crack, mainly due to the fact that football doesn’t appeal to everyone. Will unfortunately decides to make life difficult for itself even more by not only being a football film, but a film about one boys love for Liverpool FC.
Will follows the story of a young boy, the film’s title character, who after his mother dies gets put him in an orphanage by is grief-stricken father. Years later his dad decides to return, but unfortunately is shortly seen off due to a bizarre brain aneurism. Before his father dies, he promises Will they will go to the Champions league final to watch their favourite team, Liverpool, play. Will desperately wants to go to the match and will do anything to get there cue a rather contrived adventure across Europe.
The film’s major shortcoming is the script, which often falls flat and lacks the charm to engage with a younger audience and the drama to appeal to an older one. With a largely promising cast, both main and support in particular Damian Lewis and Bob Hoskins both of whom try their best to bring some character to the film, and even newcomer Perry Eggleton as Will does rather well but due to the script, it lacks the appeal to make you want to root for Will.
As well as this it seems rather odd how easily Will makes it to Istanbul, first off managing to get himself aboard a lorry full of flowers set for France, all set up by his worryingly clever orphan counterparts. Once there he conveniently bumps into an ex-Yugoslavian football player (once scouted for Liverpool FC), who somehow is more than happy to drive him all the way to the match.
Many of the characters in Will feel flat and one dimensional, lacking anything for the audience to sink their teeth into, specifically after Will leaves the orphanage and his father dies. This is particularly true of his Yugoslavian counterpart, who on the way to Istanbul takes them on a bizarre stop off in Bosnia, where we learn he is responsible for a young boy killing himself on a mine. This shows how weak the script is, spreading a rather spare plot even thinner with poor attempts at trying to make the film more exciting or dramatic.
Adding these sequences seem to be just a way of trying to increase the film’s running length, which could have easily been under an hour. Even brief cameos from football stars Stephen Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, and Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish (none of whom should give up their day jobs) don’t really help the film along, instead closing the film off to appeal just to Liverpool fans, rather than opening it up to a wider audience.
By the end of the film it all feels a little obvious and easy, as throughout the movie Will never really comes across any major challenges, which in turn doesn’t really give the audience anything to grab a hold of and once Will sets foot on the pitch. By that point, do we really care anymore?
Overall Verdict: Will lacks the charm and passion to make it anything more than a love letter to Liverpool FC, with a promising cast but an overly weak script, Will is a disappointment even for kids.
Reviewer: Gareth Haworth