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Review: We Are the Champions-Af Banen (2005)

Directed by: Martin Hagbjer | 79 minutes | comedy, sports | Actors: Lars Bom, Camilla Bendix, Bjarne Henriksen, Claus Bue, Kristian Halken, Niklas Ingemann, Nicolas Bro, Anthony Timur Catallar, Micky Skeel Hansen, Saban Özdogan, Nicklas Svale Andersen, Svend Laurits Læssø Larsen, Jonas S. Nielsen, Emilie Fenst , Louise Bangslund, Eva Reinhold, Nathalie Maria Wendt Olsson, Stephanie Gøtze Gringer, Margrethe Koytu, Susanne Storm,

“We Are the Champions” is a fun Danish family about a group of youngsters around thirteen, who play soccer, who need a new trainer. The father of one of the boys, David, used to be a professional football player, but has stopped doing so for unclear reasons. Torben is recruited to train the team. David’s parents are divorced and the father-son relationship is quite disrupted. David thinks the divorce is his fault, but he can’t stand his father fleeing into alcohol either. The fact that Torben is going to train his team is therefore unacceptable to him and after a collision he announces that he will only start playing again when there is another trainer.

As is often the case in Danish films, the characters are portrayed in a very recognizable and human way. No character is without errors and that makes them all likeable. The viewer can always identify with one of the main characters, so that there is a bond quite quickly. The humor in the is subtle but very effective, like the scene in which Torben tries to get a washing machine to work, which, as it turns out, becomes another running gag in the film. Of course, the romance is not lacking either, when Torben falls for the charms of one of the mothers. Sports-themed films often have the same structure. It is often an “underdog” team, on the verge of relegation. Just as in a classic Bouquet series story the two lovers cannot see each other at all in the beginning, in such a sports film there is usually a coach who only manages to arouse antipathy from the players (except the viewer). He has all appearances against him, but manages to slowly win over the team. And he appears to apply a questionable but also correct strategy, which means that after some obstacles the team often wins the important game or even becomes champion at the end of the film. “We Are the Champions”, as the title says, offers nothing new under the sun, but the film was made with such enthusiasm that it has an effect on the audience. The actors, all with a few exceptions known only from Danish productions, deliver an excellent performance by acting completely natural. Emotions such as sadness and joy come across well, making the film a real feel-good movie, for young and old.

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