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Film Review: Don't Take Me Home

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Don't Take Me Home tells the story of the Welsh football teams' unbelievable run in the 2016 European Cup, from the perspective of the players and coaches themselves.

Opening with a montage of the soul-crushing goals scored against Wales in various campaigns over the last 60 years, it is clear from the very start that Don't Take Me Home tells the story of the underdog. 

Following a string of bad luck and failed qualification attempts as well as the heartbreaking loss of one of their most successful managers in 2010, Gary Speed, Wales entered the 2016 Euros as a team expected to make minimum impact - and a very swift exit. 

However, what followed was an immensely successful campaign which surprised all who watched. We saw Wales become the smallest country to ever reach the semi-final, only eventually losing in a particularly hard fought match against subsequent winners Portugal. 

Perhaps unexpectedly given the dramatic nature of the Welsh success, the documentary - named after a song popularised by several countries throughout the qualifying stages of the 2016 European Cup - records a number of amazing moments. Alongside goals from the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey which will be considered works of art by any self-respecting football fan, listening to Land of My Fathers sung by a stadium full of Welsh fans in their first group match against Slovakia is absolutely breathtaking. I defy anyone to watch it without getting goosebumps.

However, whilst the story of Wales' success is undeniably inspiring, there are several moments where the editing of the documentary is decidedly less impressive. Whereas stories from the locker-room and clips of matches are covered at a good speed, some parts of the campaign, including the press coverage of the Welsh clash with England, are covered in unnecessarily detail. Footage of several players and coaches essentially repeat what others before them have said. 

Equally, the penultimate minutes of the documentary cover the cup final played between Portugal and France, something which is of little interest after an hour of following and, whether intentionally or not, supporting the Welsh side in their efforts to reach it. 

Despite the limitations of the documentary's editing and the subsequent occasional lack of pace, the story itself remains immensely inspiring to both football fans and those less acquainted with the sport. Ultimately, if you like a good underdog story, Don't Take Me Home is an ideal choice. 

Don't Take Me Home is available on DVD nationwide now. 

 

 

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