A talented young footballer from Belfast becomes a legendary player for Manchester United, but the price of fame is heavy.
The life and times of Georgie Best possess enough dramatic highs and lows to fill a mini-series, let alone a movie. A much-vaunted tale of personal destruction, it's pretty much the open goal of biopic opportunity. It takes three minutes to comprehend just how they've spooned it into row Z.
John Lynch, who co-wrote and produced, has been passionate about bringing this story to the big screen for years. And while the low budget is inescapable, the shoddy TV-style direction and one-dimensional script are unforgivable. Straight away the film falls into the why-football-films-are-rubbish trap - choreographed soccer looks preposterous and totally unbelievable on screen. It is a sport too sustained and random to hold up to artificiality. And with the likes of Jerome Flynn (as Bobby Charlton), Ian Hart (as Nobby Stiles), and Linus Roach (as Denis Law) galloping around a pitch and hugging each other in potty recreations of those iconic Best moments, the effect is downright laughable, vapourising any attempt to evoke that godlike ability.
Beyond this, though, the film finds no sure ground on which to base any kind of psychological hypothesis. There is no real attempt to get inside Best's head and legal restraints have reduced the pivotal part Angie Best played in his life to a stilted Patsy Kensit cameo. The only resonant relationship on show is that between Best and Busby, his manager and mentor, the one man who truly seemed to understand him. Played with understated grace by the late Ian Bannen, Busby arrives as a fully dimensional character: passionate, measured, preaching the tantalising glories that only football can offer.
The film only seems to wake from its coma when Bannen's Busby strides in. He's a minor highlight, in a turgid and poorly crafted biopic.