2019 Film Reviews - 37: Diego Maradona [dir. Asif Kapadia; 2019]
Asif Kapadia has a facility for showcasing and explaining the skills of talented individuals even to people who aren’t particularly interested in the individuals’ field of expertise, whether it’s Ayrton Senna’s Formula One racing or Amy Winehouse’s trademark modern soul singing. He displays it to full effect again in Diego Maradona, a documentary which makes it clear even to non-football-fans, such as myself, precisely why the Argentinian player became a revered demi-god. The footage of the angst-ridden bundle of complexities controlling the ball on the pitch is simply breath-taking to behold, and adds an unexpected note of pathos to the account of his downfall. The man’s post-prison years are dealt with far too perfunctorily - did Kapadia suddenly realise he was facing the prospect of making a three-hour movie and decided to cut it short? - but what we do have is a compelling tale of how quickly fortunes can turn and how easily corruption becomes all-pervasive. Compelling stuff.