Thoughts: The wife and I figured we'd follow up We Are Marshall with what many consider THE definitive football flick. Dramatic heft notwithstanding, Friday Night Lights is in my opinion THE definitive football flick- about football. Everything else though, is just pretty good.
Don't get me wrong- it's a solid flick. Billy Bob Thornton kills it, as do all the younger stars. And I personally love just about anything Lucas Black does. But the film trades in football and football only, starting at the very beginning of the American college football season, and ending right smack bang on the day following the final.
In that sense, the more Australian among us (read: not familiar with Gridiron) may find some of the concepts a bit full-on. I completely understand that small-town life over there is quite different to over here. Lives aren't made or broken by the end of the school year, and I don't think I've ever heard of someone being fucked for life by not getting into AFL or the NRL professionally right off the bat. But, that is not something I hold against the flick. The whole thing is still very accessible, it's just that sometimes you have to stop trying to figure some of the dialogue out, and just rest assured that the characters know what they're doing.
The story follows a particular path that leads to an intriguing ending. The film is based on a book, which in turn is a chronicle of real events that took place a few decades ago. You may ask what the point of the story is at the end, but you just have to ask yourself what is truly more interesting: perfection or the journey that leads to it. I'll take the journey any day.
Altogether, what more can I say. Peter Berg directs excellently; putting the camera right where its needed, and getting up close and personal both off and on the field. It is a personal film, really, when you break it down, it just seems so distant because of the brutal nature of the game.