Best (George Best: All By Himself)
George Best is a tragic hero worthy of playing alongside Hamlet, Othello, Lear and Macbeth. He was the star of the show in the theatre of dreams when he was just 17 and the fans were his audience. However, with brilliance comes arrogance and the boy from Belfast (with an airport named after him) was the first of the Beckham breed. By 22 he had it all and had done it all: lifted the Champions Cup and become Europe’s greatest player. George was pure magic on the ball but his hamartia was booze and beautiful women.
Director Daniel Gordon has created a poignant biopic, which retells Best’s career in all its glory and ignominy, and it is to Gordon’s credit that he presents both sides of the icon and alcoholic with candour. For instance, one exhilarating scene in the documentary features a remastered 1968 Champions League final, which enables the audience to watch United versus Benfica in colour clarity. An example of the unadulterated best of Best.
Yes, the footballer was a showboating, once-in-a-lifetime talent who lifted the city of Manchester out of the their Munich mourning and taught the fans to dream again. But he was also human and deeply flawed.
His story is told through a compilation of archive footage and interviews with loved ones who have outlived him. The most compelling accounts of the man behind the icon come from the women in his life: his girlfriends and his wives, including Angie Best, Alex Best and Jackie Glass. All women he loved. All women he abused in one way or another, whether that be through infidelity, violence or going on drinking benders for weeks.
Angie Best, comes across well. In a stylised scene – a recreation of events as she remembers them – we see a rain-splattered windscreen as new mother Angie drives around looking for her husband. After frenzied searching she finds him drunkenly staggering along the roadside, looking more like a down and out then a sporting superstar. She could only look after one baby on her own.
In a radio interview shortly before his death, Best asked to be remembered for his football. However, this unflinching biopic will make the debate about the game’s rock and roll star more polarised than ever.
Best (George Best: All By Himself) is released nationwide on Friday 24th February 2017.
Watch the trailer for Best (George Best: All By Himself) here: