To any and the many that have wondered what Nottingham Forest looked like at its peak, wonder no more.
Jonny Owen’s 2015 Documentary I Believe In Miracles about the climb of Nottingham’s local team from the depths of the second division to the glory of the European Cup has now arrived on Netflix, making it widely available for everyone.
The Documentary opens strong by using an old interview of manager Brian Clough before joining Nottingham Forest, relying on the subtext of the situation to build up the inevitable reveal that he’ll start managing for the team.
It might be somewhat conventional for a documentary, but it works well enough that it engages its audience from very early on. And through its 100-minute runtime it seems to adopt this simple but effective philosophy rather well.
This works even more in the film’s favour when the team’s own motto mirrors this way of thinking. Throughout the documentary the surprising efficiency of Nottingham Forest’s simplicity really makes the football they played look like nothing short of a miracle, which more than justifies its title.
But the simplicity of the documentary, unlike Forest’s, does come at a cost. A fair portion of its middle section relies a bit too much on the consistent dumping of information, which in a way diminishes the accomplishments of the team. By providing little to no build up for event after event, and record after record, it dulls a lot of the amazing feats and overbearing odds the team was able to overcome.
The standard presentation also doesn’t help too much during this somewhat dry section of the film, the narration from some of the older players and team members juxtaposed with simple stills from newspapers and interchangeable football footage doesn’t really help discern the “extra” from the “ordinary”.
But this poses only a small hurdle for the audience since the second half of the Documentary is when it truly reaches its full potential.
The narration slows down and constructs its ambience as it focuses on individual games and even plays of the European cup, all culminating in this beautiful moment where you can see all the players and managers relive their win and all that followed from their stories of 40 years yonder.
At its best I Believe In Miracles will live up to its name and inspire audiences to think that anything is possible in the game of Football. From 2nd division to European Champions you won’t want to miss this incredible journey now available on Netflix.