Vladimir Stanković is a Serbian sports journalist who wrote a “documentary novel” — Montevideo, Bog te video — recounting the tale of the Yugoslavian National Team that went to the 1930 World Cup in Montevideo, Uruguay.
This movie covers the formation of the team from two rival Serbian clubs (the Croatian players boycotted) and the effort to get funding for the trip to Uruguay.
The on-field success of the team depends on the relationship of the two strikers, one a playboy soccer star, and the other a boy who is faced with becoming a tailor for the rest of his life. A conflict in their camaraderie flares up when they get involved with each other’s loves.
Entertaining but long
The characters are very engaging, and the story is entertaining but a bit long (140 minutes). It is extremely reminiscent of The Game of Their Lives, the story of the American victory over England at WC 1950.
The soccer is portrayed realistically along with the passion of the fans, although apparently the cast had to learn to play. There is a lot of juggling with eggs, the significance of which was unclear, since they kept saying that people who could juggle eggs would die.
The film has swearing, drug use, some nudity, and prostitution. The cinematography is very sepia-toned in line with its being a period piece, but I found it difficult to watch, as if the theater screen needed adjusting.
The translation of the book’s title is “Montevideo, God Bless You“, which sounds rather unrelated, but it comes from a congratulatory telegram sent to Yugoslavia. The book was turned into this feature film, a TV series, and now a second film that is in production.
6 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 6