Before I laid my eyes on this abomination, this bastard child of cinema, if you were to ask me what my least favourite film of all time was, I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. There are so many bad films out there just like there are many great films out there and for some, choosing a definitive good and/or bad film is not something as simple as picking one you like and running with that idea for a portion of your existence. There is a lot of self-deliberation you have to go through, factors to consider. We choose our worst films for a variety of reason, maybe they ignored the source material like Dragonball Evolution, maybe they’re just made poorly like Battlefield Earth, But in the case of United Passions, the definitive reason why this is the worst film of all time is that it is a morally wrong film.
United Passions is a parasitic leech, a black mark, demonically possessed, and any other nasty descriptions you can think of. The way this film came about is everything I associate with the definition of wrong. I promised myself that I would try to not go overboard on venting my frustrations about this film, but I won’t stop myself.
United Passions is a biographical film on FIFA, the “non-profit” organisation that governs the worldwide popular sport of football. We see the history of the organisation through three of its presidents Jules Rimet (Gérard Depardieu), João Havelange (Sam Neill) and Sepp Blatter (Tim Roth) as well as how the World Cup was formed.
A few facts about United Passions before we get onto the film itself. This film could not have come out at a worse time, FIFA as an organisation was on very thin ice with accusations of corruption, bribery, and controversy surrounding the future 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This film was released in the US on June 5th, 2015, a week earlier, seven FIFA officials were arrested on such charges and Sepp Blatter resigned as president of FIFA four days after being re-elected.
As you can expect, the film bombed at the box office, but this was a disaster unlike anything at the time. Made with a $29 million budget, in its three-day opening in cinemas it made a staggering $918! In Phoenix, Arizona it made $9, meaning in the whole of Phoenix only one person saw it. My condolences to that one person. Oh, and that $29 million budget was also hugely controversial as FIFA, the organisation of which the film was about, funded 90% of the budget. So, I guess this is less of a biopic and more a propaganda film because that’s what it feels like ALL the time, there is an obvious bias to paint FIFA as this
But all of these little facts will not surprise you one bit when you sit and watch the film yourself. I really hope that director Frédéric Auburtin was paid off by FIFA to shine a good light on them because who on earth would want to make FIFA of all things the heroes of the film. I must have missed the alternate cut of Cool Runnings where the heroes are the Olympic Committee. As you can probably guess, by making the underdogs the people who regularly attend board meetings talking about getting money, the film is boring to the point of insanity. How are you supposed to relate to these people, imagine how impossible it would have been when this film was released when FIFA was literally all anyone was talking about.
I actually think any approach the film could take to get you to like these characters would result in failure because this supposed biopic, that stretches several decades of the history of FIFA, is full of scenes that are either complete garbage or could be cut out. As a result, United Passion is the most boring film on the planet. The amount of effort I needed to bring myself to watch this dumpster fire does not nearly amount to the effort I needed to stay awake.
For some reason, FIFA has a lot of beef with the English in this film. I wish I could stop at the portrayal of the English as stereotypical in this film, but every English character in this film is stereotypical, misogynistic, and racist. There’s a scene in which this English character is talking to Jules Rimet and his daughter, the conversation effectively turns into some kind of scolding of Rimet’s daughter for suggesting black people and women can play football with THE most disgusting dialogue I’ve ever heard in a film. I can only assume that the English have been made laughably evil so FIFA can try and make us forget all the misogynistic and racist remarks it has made over the years.
There are some massive names in United Passions with the likes of Tim Roth, Sam Neill, and Gérard Depardieu as mentioned, and I think some of them have escaped a lot of criticism for their involvement in this film. Tim Roth has openly come out and said that he took on the role of Sepp Blatter to put his kids through college, which is respectable, as least he acknowledges those motivations. But actors like Gérard Depardieu insisted that this film be shown at the Cannes Film Festival… This film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival…let that sink in for a moment. Nevertheless, you do not need me to tell you that these performances are atrocious, and the material really didn’t do them any favors.
I have thought some very nasty things about FIFA and the people involved in this film. I feel everyone at some point comes across something or someone that creates this feeling of pure anger, like you have discovered your arch-nemesis. In that case, United Passions is my arch-nemesis, if I could perform an exorcism on this film I would. Every time I even think about the film I find myself going to a dark place where all I want to do is use the most disgusting language to describe this film, but now that I have written this, I feel that a weight has been lifted off my shoulder. Never again do I want to even see, hear, or think about this film ever again lest I risk going to that dark place again.