“MESSI”— The Best Soccer Player in the World

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“Messi”

The BestSoccer Player in the World

Amos Lassen

Lionel Messi is considered to be the best soccer player in the world. Director Alex de la Iglesia tries to tell us how that happened in his documentary feature. However, it is unfortunate that Messi is not fascinating enough to have a film made about him.

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We enter a restaurant where most of the tables are occupied by people from Messi’s past and present. His primary school teachers are at one table, at another, are Messi’s childhood pals from his Rosario neighborhood in Argentina and they reminisce over photos. At another table are Barcelona teammates Iniesta, Pique and pals. There are other tables with club trainers, football journalists and even his doctor. But neither Messi nor members of his family are there. Instead we have actors pretending to be those people.

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We learn something of Messi’s problematic move from Argentina to Barcelona and learn that he nearly played for Spain. Maradona, is not actually in the room, but he does make a cameo appearance telling Lio how much he loves him. However, he leaves the question of who is the better player up in the air, believing the question should be discussed at the end of Messi’s career. There is some archive footage of both players scoring goals, with the pundits pointing out the uncanny similarities between them.

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It is clear that Iglesia wanted to come up with a new format for getting information out of his guests, and you can see that a gossiping about someone in a restaurant over a few bottles of wine might work. However his seating plan could have been much improved and interesting facts could have come out of that. No one is there to push the speakers into giving more information, no interviewer probing the interviewees.

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The movie about Messi is messy. There’s very little in the film that we don’t already know, if you follow soccer. The goals and the technique look great, but Iglesia keeps cutting back to his own biopic fragments, insisting on their relevance.  One of the journalists even admits that Messi is a dull subject to interview.

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