So you are going to make a film. About football. You call it 90 minutes, for that’s how long a football game lasts. You set it on Hackney Marshes in the East End of London, a vast area of football pitches, famous for Sunday League games.
You do all of this, and then make a film that doesn’t even last 90 minutes and isn’t particularly about football at all. This I don’t really understand, much like a lot of the film.
You have two Sunday League teams going head to head on a big game, a chance of winning the league so it seems. Both sets of managers are angry, shouty, sweary geezers whilst the players range from overweight to ‘has potential’.
On the sidelines are a range of supporters; from a woman watching her man, who realises she’s not the only one watching him, to some brothers arguing over their business, to a kid who doesn’t even like football but comes along to watch his dad.
Then there’s one of the team managers wife, who works at the burger van. She’s kicked him out and is forever having arguments with her teenage daughter.
If that’s not enough, you’ve got Rio Ferdinand, who also produced the film, wondering around the pitches, filming himself on his camera, reminiscing about his playing days on the Marshes.
It’s all quite bizarre and plays out like an extended version of Eastenders, on a football pitch, which is ironic given they never mention football on Eastenders.
I’m not quite sure who I’m meant to be focussing on? The dour son, Robert Ristic (“Doctors (TV)”, “TryLife (TV)”)? Or Peyvand Sadeghian (“Song Of King Solomon”, “The Numbers”) who follows him around? Anton Saunders (“Luther (TV)”, “Downton Abbey (TV)”) the angry manager whose been kicked out? Debra Baker (“Doctors (TV)”, “Angel”), the wife who kicked him out? Jessica Collins (“Silent Witness (TV)”, “Doctors (TV)”), the angry young daughter? On and on it goes.
In the middle of all these shenanigans is the football game of which you see very little. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised, writer/director Simon Baker has form with this sort of film, his previous being Night Bus, about people on a bus…at night.
There are some genuinely funny moments in 90 Minutes though, amidst the swearing and frustrating teenage angst. Waj Ali (“RED 2”, “Stan Lee’s Lucky Man (TV)”) and Waleed Akhtar (“Salmon Fishing In The Yemen”, “Tyrant (TV)”) are the two brothers, watching their brother play, who seem completely different to each other, with Ali getting more and more frustrated at his brother Akhtar. You’ll laugh at the banter, but not often enough.
Saunders gives a powerful, emotional roller-coaster of a performance, from shouty, sweary football manager to crying whilst trying to get his wife back. And Baker does handle the camera well too.
I just couldn’t shake the feeling I was watching an extended soap opera episode. It’s all a bit too eye-rollingly cringe-worthy and the laughs to far apart.
It’s a shame, as I was really hoping for a funny, British comedy about Sunday League football. Something along the lines of Brassed Off or The Full Monty, but 90 Minutes isn’t that, it’s something very, very different.