This Is Football
Football fans live in a golden age for documentaries that provide access and insight into the game that would be incomprehensible to a supporter from even one generation ago. Amazon Prime’s This Is Football is the latest in the catalogue that, in its six episodes, artfully combines a broad take on the game while also offering depth of perspective.
Each episode is themed and offers a unique view of the sport, and it does not shy away from challenging issues, addressing in the first two episodes the Rwandan genocide and the American footballers who propelled the women’s game forward.
The undercurrent of inspiration continues with German club Eintracht Frankfurt and the role of luck in its success. The average football match ends 2-1, mathematician David Sumpter says in episode 3, and the disproportionate value of a lucky goal is what can give an underdog a fighting chance – just ask Iceland, the minnows at the centre of episode 4.
The penultimate episode is a series of vignettes into football in the developing world, including a look at South Africa’s 18-year-old Fezile Hlope, the country’s youngest professional referee.
This Is Football is a cinematographic marvel with beautiful shots interspersed with impactful archive material that hits a high point in the final episode. It focuses on Lionel Messi as more of a magician or artist than a sportsman, and, much like the entire series, is a a beautiful tribute to the beautiful game.
For more football action, check out:
- Shoot (2017) – a sports drama about a Saudi football player’s choice between tradition and freedom
- Highlights from the Euro ’20 Qualifiers
- Highlights from MultiChoice Diski Challenge matches
- Upcoming Varsity Football matches
IMDB rating: 8.4/10