‘The English Game’ Movie Review on Netflix

April 15, 2020

In a superb remedy to class conscious strife which has been ever present in contemporary Western culture since the 2008 financial crisis, The English Game warrants the possibility of righteous nobility principally because of the righteous potency available within every individual, regardless of how well fed they are. The short mini-series (or teleplay as the Duplas Brothers correctly introduced) involves the spontaneous fermentation of organized English football. Once a game reserved for the leisured class, the historical fiction rightly frames a precious filament of human history – that being the nascent climb of the agrarian class towards more and more leisure. And with it, the cooperation with the privileged to what can constitute a new spring of English culture.


It is taken for granted what fate has destined for spirits solely concentrated on gaining inches of victory in the prime of their life just for the sake of pride in their lowly industrial communities, such as the town of Blackburn depicted. Yet the honest pursuit of excellence on the pitch invariably transposes itself onto everyday life, and is one of natural merit and breeds such beliefs, nay hopes, of a better ordering of mankind; all through the serious treatment of a game! Yes, this is culture proper – to strain and risk for better play to exceed the possibilities of what it means to be an excellent human.


The honest victory of the struggling and meek is what makes sports so magnanimous. It is that possibility of natural excellence to be revealed, rather than lie ambiguous or uncertain as it appears to do frequently within the human condition, which breeds forth a self-certainty in the goodness in the world. This goodness, then, is affixed to an objective striving, beyond the known conditions at the start of the match, and is reflective within the immortal virtue of courage that can only be cultivated through the practical experience of scoring a goal. The fact that objective striving is the aim of all human life, which provides sustenance against the havoc of uncertain miseries that lurk in the ever-present darkness of forward movement, is an important reminder that the cultivation of the faculties of virtue are able to be possessed within all individuals; and further, such a cultivation breeds the most well-being and prosperity for a society. It is to deter individual agency away from prevarication and mendacity and towards struggling for the good.


Stupendously, The English Game demonstrates how easy it is in theory to speak so prepossessed yet the practice of not succumbing to convenience, in negating the concourse of Providence, is where the drama of humanity always resides. And what a splendid home it finds in such an emphatic effort at representing a bygone historical reality, where it was possible for a man to seek and achieve the best for all, despite the temptations elsewise.


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