Directed by John McGovern
Starring Tim Casey and Eddie Jackson
Short Film Review by Daniel Reason
The new football season is upon us, which means that just like every year, people restart their Football Manager careers. It is the addiction to this modern hobby that John McGovern explores in his latest short film, Just About Managing. It is when Dr. Brian Robson, played by Tim Casey, meets with his next client that we see the effect of his obsession and how destructive it is to his life, but most importantly his career.
Within minutes, we understand Dr. Brian Robson and are fully aware of how much he cares for the game. He is a very relatable character, which allows for some of the more “ridiculous” moments to feel oddly believable. Despite his lack of concentration in the problems that his client, Jamie (played by Eddie Jackson), is sharing, it perfectly suits his character and he isn’t treated or portrayed as ignorant or rude. One such scene in particular is where Eddie is talking about a recent traumatic event in his life, but Dr. Robson is completely “absent” with his focus set purely on the game. While these types of scenes have become very familiar, bordering on being a cliché, it still manages to bring the laughs. Despite its length being under 10 minutes, the humour is consistent, as are the performances of both Tim Casey and Eddie Jackson, who portray their respective characters brilliantly and in keeping with the tone.
It is clear that McGovern has treated Dr. Robson’s love for Football Manager as an addiction. Often both characters can be seen smoking a cigarette or drinking alcohol, which are, of course, two well-known forms of addiction. Unlike smoking or drinking, however, the characters show more of a hunger to play the game, whereas they do not hesitate to smoke or drink. Through the sweat on their heads and the twinging of their movement, it is very clear how addictive Football Manager can be. This is fundamentally where the humour comes from, due to the foolishness of both characters and how little they care for anyone, or anything else.
There is something very “Edgar Wright” in the way certain moments are edited. The use of sound effects and dynamic transitions work just as well here as they would in any of Wright’s films. It is because of the work by the editor, Donal Canavan, that makes the style so memorable and it truly adds to the comedy, by making those moments rely not only on the context, but in the way that they are presented.
Just About Managing is not merely focused on managing a football team, as the plot synopsis would suggest, but is instead a demonstration of how to manage your life and your addictions. The way McGovern treats this subject matter is incredibly thoughtful, but through the behaviour in its characters and editing style, Just About Managing has a clear style that is sure to bring the laughs, especially for any football fan.