Don’t Take Me HomeCultureCinemaMovie reviews
This new documentary from Welsh filmmaker Jonny Owen follows the story of Wales’ Euro 2016 campaign in France, where Chris Coleman’s side reached the last four in the tournament. Don’t Take Me Home narrates the events through a combination of interviews and clips from games and press conferences. Owen recreates the spine-tingling apprehension, enormous delight and pride of Wales in what was a defining moment in not just football but the country’s history.
The film begins with a montage of Welsh defeats. From this low point the documentary gains speed and tracks the team’s mesmeric rise to eighth in the world. What makes it watchable, even for those who do not follow football, is the focus Owen places on the national significance of their success. Shots of fans feature heavily, often cutting from one shot of the game to the reaction of fans in the stadium and in the streets. The film creates a sense of scale contrasting the experiences of the players with those of the whole country. This is particularly felt through the multiple voices of team members and the manager – it is not a series of interviews more a fabric of their various impressions and opinions of what happened. Don’t Take Me Home is focused not on just reporting the tournament but capturing it through the memories and emotions of those who lived it.
Music is well chosen whenever it accompanies the videos and at no point does the documentary feel like a Match of the Day highlights compilation. The film flows well and recreates the highs and lows of the team’s experience, though it’s “not going to end with We Are the Champions by Queen,” says Owen. Don’t Take Me Home exudes national pride not nationalism: it is an underdog success story that will inspire.
Don’t Take Me Home is released nationwide on 3rd March 2017
Watch the trailer for Don’t Take Me Home here: