Until recently, I’d never understood the passion people hold for football. Before lockdown and the brief cancellation of Premier League fixtures, I didn’t realise how much, in passing, I missed it. Fever Pitch, then, has come at the right time, a film not about yobs and hooliganism, but intense love for sport and the bonding it can bring to those that have nothing else. Fever Pitch looks to appreciate and understand such a mindset, how football can mean so much to someone, and how those on the outside of this universally loved sport don’t understand the intense passion for twenty-two men kicking a ball up and down a field for varyingly ludicrous amounts of cash.
Fever Pitch offers up the throes of obsession, how a hobby can evolve and morph, taking over every second of our free time. The line between passion and erratic, emotionally damaging enthusiasm is blurred consistently in a leading performance that offers up a different style of acting for Colin Firth. It’s something audience members may not be used to, a foul-mouthed football fanatic makes a great change of pace for him, instead of becoming the usual heartthrob or shy hero, here he presents us a violently bored individual who loves nothing but Arsenal, with no drive in life other than to see his club reach the top of the table.
A surprisingly strong cast brings Firth and Mark Strong together, their commendable chemistry makes for an enjoyable supporting storyline to the back and forth found within the leading drama. Ruth Gemmell and Firth have some decent chemistry with one another, they share a couple of engaging scenes that detail a typical back and forth dynamic. There are places where it could do with some great improvements, but for the most part, I can take comfort in its predictability, mainly because of how harsh it becomes. The cliché is taken to its extremes, and it makes for a relatively fresh pairing of two different backgrounds clashing and coming together in a sentimental time.
Quintessentially British, ever so charming, and not too taxing on the mind, Fever Pitch will relay the same few messages, but knows not to outstay its running time. It throws some rather dense, melodramatic prose at the wall to see what sticks, and pulls it off surprisingly well. Firth and Gemmell hold it together, though, I imagine that without their steadiness as performers this would be a revoltingly horrible experience. But consistency is key with this one, and director David Evans manages to craft a film so harmless that it’d be impossible for him to leave his mark. A completely solid rom-com that focuses in on a love for The Gunners, it’s the mindless entertainment I needed.