Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Referees ? review

This French documentary, the lingua franca of which is Euro-England, is an impressionistic account of half-a-dozen football referees as they go about their duties during the 2008 European Championship finals in Austria and Switzerland. This is the event that led to death threats against the British ref Howard Webb from, among others, the Polish president, but it's a sober film, and impressionistic rather than analytical, with no commentary and no direct identification of teams, speakers or venues. They're all somewhat authoritarian, deeply serious, immaculately turned out, given to preening before the changing- room mirror, extremely confident, very talkative both on and off the field, and rather likable. The postmortems and briefing sessions are fascinating to sit in on, but at the end we don't quite get to understand them, though quite clearly they enjoy their power, prefer commanding to being ordered around, have skins as thick as old-fashioned footballs, and seem, with some justice, morally superior to the players whose game they oversee. They have what most of the childlike millionaires they discipline lack ? character. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Cheryl Cole Simon Cowell David Beckham David Guetta

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