In America, hundreds of sport films have been produced. Usually, sports weren’t that much successful. Films were usually intended for younger audience, and were made of low budget, until recently when “Rocky” in 1976 was released, the sports film genre has flourished at the box office, and has attracted audiences that would never dream of going to a boxing ring. Sports and movies contradict in many ways. Sport is an unscripted battle in which the viewer is absorbed in the plot precisely because he does not know how it will end. A movie is necessarily the reverse: scripted, plotted and directed; a drama choreographed in advance. That is why all the great sport movies are not just about sports. Yes, most of the cast may talk and play sports, but if the script does not have a wider range to it, then I think the movie is going to lose the battle. I also think that sports films are also their own coach, They inspire, entertain, encourage, strengthen a Yes-I-Can self-belief and energize. In short, sports films tell powerful stories that speak to our heart, head, soul & spirit. One movie that I think has the ability of being a successful sport film is “A shot at Glory” directed by Michael Corrente and stars veteran actor Robert Duvall and Scottish soccer player Ally McCoist. The film features the fictional Scottishsoccer clubKilnockie, as they attempt to reach their first Scottish Cup Final. It’s very difficult to make films about soccer. One has to be very careful in handling this kind of sport as sometimes match scenes can overtake a beautifully crafted plot. “A Shot At Glory” is indeed one of the finest soccer movies and is worth watching. The three points that requires a sports film to be successful is script, actors and cinematography.
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There are various number of things that can add up to a high quality sport film, like emotions or fascinating actors, but one of the most important criteria is genuineness or originality in the script. Films of this genre have to be unique and unpredictable. A true sports fan can spot a foul play or a non-athletic actor a mile away, and this can quickly shatter the suspension of disbelief to quite an extent. “A Shot At Glory” makes a good attempt in keeping the audience at their edge of the seats till the finale. The dramatic elements are genuine and carefully developed; the brilliant sports sequences are edited in such a way that all you need to know about soccer is that you kick a ball into a goal; and the comedic sequences are cleverly rendered so as not to dilute the intensity of the drama. The best part of the script has been kept in the end. I have always believed that, if the director wants to put an impact on the audiences mind, then the last 20 minutes or so has to be captivating. It should make the audience guessing that what’s going to happen next. The climax, which is the soul of every movie, the prime sport clichÃ©, a last second goal to win the championship, that’s where it differs from other sports films. It is indeed not one of those sport movies which only rely on the joys of athletic competition, but also explore the bitter ironies of defeat. It also tells about Ally McCoist whose flashy lifestyle and volatile temperament cost him both his career and wife Kate (Kirsty Mitchell), who is none other than McLeod’s (Robert Duvall) own daughter.
The second most import factor that I think makes not only a sports film but every film successful are the actors. No matter how good the script is, if the actor doesn’t fit into the role than the film will fail. The whole film is shot in Scotland, therefore, actors having Scottish accent is mandatory. Robert Duvall is simply amazing. His daring Scottish accent is utterly convincing. The scene when Robert Duvall talks to his wife about their daughter and son-in-law is one of the best scenes in the movie. He also pulls off a remarkable performance. He fits the role of a Scottish coach perfectly and lives up to his reputation as one his generation’s finest actors. To make things look more authentic, director Michael Corrente used Scottish footballer Ally McCoist as Jackie McQuillan. The undeniable chemistry between Ally McCoist and Kirsty Mitchell as Robert Duvall’s ex-son in law and daughter is marvelous, the sequence where Kirsty tries to convince Ally to quit drinking shows how committed both the actors are.
The third thing that I want to see in a sports film is cinematography. Cinematography is the art of manipulating light and shadow, and capturing it as a moving image. It plays an important role especially when making a soccer film, in which the players move constantly. But, the match scenes should not overtake the script. In these situations the director has to be very careful, as the audience should come out of the theatre watching a movie rather than a match. “A Shot At Glory” gives a perfect example of keeping the script alive as well as showing the match scenes when needed. The action scenes are realistic with real-life commentary. The lush landscape and village scenery gives a terrific feel and look to the movie. Especially the pen-ultimate penalty kick scene, in which the director has kept the suspense alive with top notch cinematography.
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In the end, A Shot At Glory is well made film. A Shot at Gloryis one of the better football films around, and should be a welcomed view for fans of the British game. One does not have to be soccer fan to watch this movie. Because of its strong and original script, the movie holds to keep the interest of the viewer. The acting is outstanding. This is Roberts Duvall’s one of the finest works I have seen. It’s really not easy for an actor from a different country to portray a character which has a different accent altogether. I don’t think any other actor would have done enough justice to the character played by Ally McCoist. He brings a real feel in the film, as he has been a real soccer player. The character played by Kirsty Mitchell is refreshing in a brief role. The camera work is excellent. The soccer scenes are interesting; with background commentary gives it a real feel. As far as the sports genre is concerned, the appeal of many of these recent films lies in heartwarming stories of victories over great odds, sports films have also served as a serious way to explore human psychology. It also teaches us lessons about the values of teamwork, self-control, sacrifice, the possibility of triumphing over great odds, and the need to obey rules.
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