Watch Shooting for Socrates
- 1 hr 31 min
Shooting for Socrates is a comedy-drama sports film directed by James Erskine that was released in 2014. The film tells the story of a young Irish boy named Tommy, who is obsessed with soccer and dreams of playing for Northern Ireland in the World Cup. Set against the backdrop of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Shooting for Socrates follows the journey of Tommy and his friends as they navigate their way through the challenges of growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
The film begins with a shot of Tommy, played by Art Parkinson, practicing soccer in the streets of Belfast. Despite the fact that his skills are limited and his makeshift ball is a tin can, Tommy is convinced that he has what it takes to become a top footballer. His hero is Gerry Armstrong, the Northern Ireland striker who scored the winning goal against Spain in the 1982 World Cup. Tommy and his friends are obsessed with Armstrong and the Northern Ireland team, and they spend their days playing soccer and dreaming of glory.
As the World Cup approaches, the excitement in Belfast grows. Northern Ireland has qualified for the tournament for the second time in its history, and the country is buzzing with anticipation. Tommy and his friends are determined to watch every game and to support their team with all their hearts. However, life in Belfast is not easy. The Troubles are at their height and violence is a daily occurrence.
Shooting for Socrates does an excellent job of capturing the atmosphere of Northern Ireland during this time. The film portrays the sectarian tension and political unrest that defined the era, as well as the sense of community and camaraderie that existed in spite of it all. We see Tommy and his friends navigating their way through the city streets, avoiding the bombs and bullets that are an ever-present danger. But we also see them laughing and joking, playing soccer and supporting their team, despite the difficulties of their lives.
The heart of the film is the relationship between Tommy and his father Arthur, played by John Hannah. Arthur is a hard-working, no-nonsense man who is skeptical of Tommy's obsession with soccer. He thinks that his son should focus on more practical pursuits, like getting a job and taking care of his family. But as the World Cup progresses, Arthur begins to see the value of Tommy's dreams. He realizes that soccer is more than just a game, it is an opportunity for his son to connect with something bigger than himself.
Another standout performance in the film comes from Conleth Hill, who plays Jackie Fullerton, a real-life sports commentator who covered the Northern Ireland matches in the 1986 World Cup. Hill brings a warmth and humanity to the character of Fullerton, who serves as a kind of narrator throughout the film. His commentary adds a layer of depth and meaning to the soccer matches, helping us to understand the emotions and passions that are driving the Northern Ireland team and its fans.
Overall, Shooting for Socrates is a heartwarming and uplifting film that celebrates the power of sports to bring people together. It captures the excitement and energy of the 1986 World Cup, and it also reminds us of the struggles that people in Northern Ireland were facing at that time. With excellent performances from its cast and a strong directorial vision from James Erskine, Shooting for Socrates is a film that will leave you cheering for the underdog and appreciating the simple pleasures of life.