Film Review: Undefeated (2011)

on Friday, August 03, 2012
'Undefeated' (UK Release: 3 August '12) // Words: Saam Das

Having won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, 'Undefeated' has finally arrived in UK cinemas, perhaps to capitalise on the increased interest in sports with the Olympic Games ongoing in London. The documentary is a moving portrait of a Tennessee high school football team and their passionate volunteer coach, a well deserved Oscar winner.

While 'Undefeated' is strongly centred on American Football, it is far from necessary to be a fan of the sport. This film is, above all, a human interest story. After years of consistent losses, Memphis inner-city high school football team Manassas Tigers strive to make it through to the play-offs, under the charismatic tutelage of coach Bill Courtney.

The team lack the funds and talent pool of their competitors but Courtney pulls his flock along, occasionally kicking and screaming. The film focusses particularly on three of the teenagers, each life as compelling as the other. Hilarious moments are offset by troubling interactions resulting in a powerful, 'Hoop Dreams'-esque effort.

The students find strength through their sport and through Courtney's tremendous dedication. The end goal being a better future for all, which is a constantly uphill battle for these underprivileged kids. In crafting this poignant documentary, directors Daniel Lindsay and TJ Martin will inspire viewers all over the world to follow the lead of the Manassas Tigers and strive toward betterment.


'Undefeated' is out now in UK cinemas through Dogwoof. Find your closest screening here.

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