Thursday, 21 January 2010

Looking for Eric; Monsieur Cantona that is.

The Ken Loach film Looking for Eric is a must for anybody with the slightest interest in the beautiful game. The interspersed sports newsreel footage alone is worth the price of the cinema ticket.

To see the skills of Cantona at intervals on the big screen is a treat not to be missed. There's a wonderful slow motion clip of Cantona's favourite moment; his unforgettable outside of the foot pass to Irwin. "You have to trust your teammates" says the flawed genius. Irwin tucks it away. The pass is the metaphor.

Ex-Manchester United footballer Eric Cantona, and his alter ego - postman Eric Bishop, a man with a troublesome son called Ryan and a pair of blue suede shoes, battle bravely against all odds. They get mixed-up with criminals, with the fairer sex, have stress at work, are kind to children, smoke harmless roll-ups, share a bottle of wine and even go jogging together. And like good heroes, yes, they come through it all together. If they didn't there wouldn't be much point to the film.

The many sayings of Cantona are there and like the sardines they are fed to the seagulls. Friends in the end are discovered to be much more than friends and, as happens in the real world, the petty mobsters and psychopaths are found to be unscrupulous and cruel. But they will be punished for it. We have more choices than we believe, says Cantona. And so, after a brainstorming session down at the pub, the crooks are finally defeated.

Drama, comedy and Cantona on the ball - and all for the price of a match programme and the half-time meat pie.

Go follow your trawler!