Jacob Richardson | 29/07/2019
A tense, thrilling documentary on one of the most impressive footballers the world has ever seen.
Chronicling the life of Diego Maradona, this documentary starts with his transfer from Barcelona to Napoli. There, Maradona takes the laughing stock of Italy (the Napolese football team) to new heights of success, wins a World Cup, and wins a championship, all while becoming immensely wealthy and famous. However, Maradona’s life isn’t all roses; he gets in deep with crime families, becomes addicted to drugs, cheats incessantly and eventually loses the support of his City.
Director Asif Kapadia has previously helmed the incredible Amy and Senna. Both dealt with tragically deceased subjects, so the story had a natural dramatic arc leading up to their demises. While Maradona is very much alive, Kapadia smartly uses his fall from grace in much the same fashion as these real life deaths, building his hero up before showing his shocking downfall.
Kapadia uses almost exclusively existing footage, coupled with the occasional voiceover, to creative a compelling narrative that feels as dramatic as anything scripted. In particular, his use of a sizeable amount of previously unreleased footage of Maradona’s early days in Napoli is used to tremendous effect to showcase the brutality of football back then.
However, the fact remains that at its heart this is a football movie. As much as Kapadia may try and create a compelling character of Maradona, and deliver a dramatic story accessible to all, he is only partially successful in divesting the sport from the story. As such, those who enjoy football are much more likely to get value out of this doco than those uninitiated.
That being said, Diego Maradona is a triumphant third documentary from Kapadia that once again showcases his brilliance in the editing suite, creating drama from real life. It’s a masterpiece in documentary filmmaking, and will expose a whole new generation to one of the greatest football players of all time.
Another stunningly delivered documentary from Kapadia, Diego Maradona will keep you enthralled even if you don’t like football; but will give you more if you do.