The Miracle Of Bern review

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For those not up to scratch on their World Cup history, `the miracle of Bern' saw the unexpected triumph of West Germany against the `magic Magyars' of Hungary in the 1954 finals. It was more than just a game, the against-the-odds victory enabling the German nation to regain some self-confidence and international respectability in the post-war world.

Director Sönke Wortmann here dramatises the exploits of the team - and their shrewd coach - throughout the competition, while also finding time to include sub-plots about a sports journo and a family in a Ruhr mining town.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder treated this very same moment of international sporting success with savage irony in The Marriage Of Maria Braun. Wortmann instead opts for sentimental male bonding, patriotic myth-making and overly artful design (even the rubble looks pretty). The real own goal, though, is allowing actors to play footballers. Will filmmakers never learn?

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