Asif Kapadia’s documentary on Diego Maradona, portrays the “God of football” -– the titular superstar Argentinian footballer — with feet of clay. Yes, the film shows him as a rebel, a cheat, a hero who was revered as God, and moreover as a man imperfect and raw..
The film begins in a chaotic and unimpressive manner, with a montage encapsulating the star footballer. The pastiche then zeroes in on July 5 1984 in Naples, where Diego Armando Maradona was presented to the world media as a player for SSC Napoli.
The stadium San Paolo, bursting with over 75,000 fans, and the controversial signing amount of a world record fee — 6.9 million pounds — by an underwhelming club puts the focus on the unassuming Diego Maradona.
The film encapsulates Maradona’s life from his childhood till his recent years, but mostly focuses on his tenure in Naples. The primetime of his career is shown, and the film touches upon a few controversial milestones in his life, namely his extra-marital affair and the birth of his son, his drug problems and his association with the Camorra (The Italian mafia), especially the Giuliano clan.
Although Maradona had a tumultuous life with many ups and downs, the graph of the plot is flat and it neither scales the heights nor drops into the nadir of Maradona’s life. The narrative is frustratingly sugar-coated and balanced, played almost like the staid story that is available on any open platform. The soul of the personality is missing.
The quality of the visuals are grainy and thus the film appears unappealing. Mounted basically with archival video footage strung together by voiceover comments from namely John Foot (an English historian specialising in Italy), Fernando Signorini (Maradona’s personal trainer), sports journalists Gonzalo Bonadeo, Daniel Arcucci and Daniel Hadad, and Maradona’s sister Maria, besides Maradona’s longtime girlfriend and subsequent wife Claudia Villafane, and investigative journalist Simone De Meo.
The documentary features his parents Diego Maradona Senior and Dalma Salvadora Franco, besides other members of his family.
With a 120-minute runtime, the film drags to a point where even football fans would find it tedious. [By Troy Ribeiro]