In the Hands of the Gods follows five British freestylers over a 6-week odyssey as the young men work their way from London to Argentina to meet Diego Maradona. This documentary is very similar to the movie Pelada, but it has a lot more friction and conflict, because the five have set out on their journey without a plan or money.
They are accompanied by the film crew, which cannot intervene in any way. Eventually, the group has to split up, and only three make it to Maradona’s doorstep.
The freestyling street performances, and the crowds’ reaction to them, are fun to watch. As one freestyler says, it takes flair, confidence, personality, and performance to be successful. In addition to Times Square, one of their stops is the half-time show for an FC Dallas game.
This movie was the first feature film for its production company, Fulwell 73. Though made on a tiny budget, it was shown at Cannes, which led to its opening in many theatres in England. However, while there may have been a lot of enthusiasm for this film, I felt it was slow and needed a lot more editing. In the beginning, their quest is inspiring, but after 40 minutes it starts to feel obsessive and passionless.
FYI, “keepy uppy” is the British term for freestyling soccer.
6 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 6