Diego Maradona Movie Review (In Detail)

The Argentine world footballer DIEGO MARADONA The documentary of the same name is a long overdue portrait that not only shows the viewer the incomparable sports career of the exceptional athlete, but is also a sad prime example of how quickly heroes are forgotten by their fans when their success is over.

World Cup in 1986.

That’s what it’s about

Diego Armando Maradona Franco, born on October 30, 1960 in the Argentine province of Lanús, is still one of the legends of football today. He played for his country at the World Cup four times, becoming world champion once and runner-up once. Thanks to him, the term “The Hand of God” – a legendary handball against England at the 1986 World Cup – went down in the annals of sporting history. But just like his fame, his private escapades and his gradual fall from grace also dominated global headlines. At some point, the people in front of the television screens were no longer just interested in Maradona’s abilities as a footballer, but more in his gradually increasing lifestyle, his affairs, and in particular the possible children that resulted from them. His connections to the Italian mafia, drug escapades and the desperate attempts not to let it show on the pitch also shaped Maradona into the tragic figure that we know the now 68-year-old as.

Diego Maradona Movie Meaning & ending

Director Asif Kapadia (“Senna”) seems to have a fascination for the particularly tragic figures in world pop culture events, thanks to which he also turns “Diego Maradona” into a strong, discussion-provoking documentary. Kapadia has already made films about the R’n’B icon Amy Winehouse and the Brazilian Formal One driver Ayrton Senna – the fates of both contemporaries did not end well. Diego Maradona’s public life is not over yet, but its tragedy is in no way inferior to that of Winehouse and Senna. To ensure that the fall from fame to the hard ground of facts is particularly high in the end, Kapadia first takes a lot of time in the first half of his 130-minute mammoth work to explore the ‘myth of Maradona’. The film begins on the day on which the world footballer moved from the million-dollar club FC Barcelona to the Italian first division club SSC Napoli in 1984 – for a then record transfer fee of 24 million German marks. For the club, which was previously considered an outsider, this transfer could have meant a death sentence. But this was the only way Maradona became a heroic figure for the residents of poor Naples.

Diego Maradona training with his personal trainer Fernando Signorini.

In time lapse, Kapadia shows the most important stages in the athlete’s life before the eyes of the audience. It is noticeable that Diego Maradona did not earn his place among world footballers primarily through victories, but above all through his style, the way he played football in front of him. Companions, confidants and journalists, but also the main character himself, repeatedly comment on the events on screen – and one sentence in particular stands out, in which Maradona’s appearance is discussed. At 1.65 meters, the fifth child in a large family was never particularly tall, never particularly strong, and didn’t even have a particularly athletic figure. Instead, it was actually his style itself that helped Maradona rise to the top of the world – thirty years later, in the well-financed football business, in which sport has almost become a minor matter, there is rarely a career reminiscent of that of Diego, who came from a poor background Maradona. Although the first half can be lengthy for those not interested in football, as Asif Kapadia illustrates the protagonist’s top sporting achievements with as much original material as possible, the second half finally unmasks; Diego Maradona is not a figure of God, but just a normal person.

The more current the images become, the more shocking the physical deterioration of the former athlete becomes. Above all, the film shows once again that there can often only be one single event between success and failure, which can ruin the fans. For Maradona, it began with the legendary game between Italy and Argentina at the World Cup in 1990. He then increasingly indulged in drug use, failed doping tests and finally ended his active career at the end of the 1990s. Even though he would have liked to have spent a little more time on the phase between homage and villainy, Asif Kapadia always captures Maradona’s combative character with just as much reverence as he allows criticism of her. Such a complex, nuanced perspective only does justice to the character, so that at the end of the film you can understand that Diego Maradona was named one of the world’s best football players of the 20th century by FIFA and at the same time fell out of favor with so many people. Black and white can only be strictly separated from each other when they compete against each other as jersey colors on the football field.

Conclusion: With this documentary, Asif Kapadia creates a cinematic monument to the former world-class athlete Diego Maradona and illuminates the controversial persona in a pleasantly ambivalent way. In the end, everyone can decide for themselves whether they want to remember the footballer as an exceptional athlete or a failed personality.

“Diego Maradona” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from September 5th.

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