Film Review: King Otto
Director: Christopher André Marks
Cast: Otto Rehhagel, Greece National Team
Running Time: 82
Australian Distributor: Umbrella Entertainment
The film chronicles a pinnacle moment in Otto Rehhagel’s career, a former football champion, who was brought in to coach the disarray of the Greek national football team.
Otto Rehhagel was brought in to instill a new discipline in 2001 to the Greek team who continually failed to qualify for the European Championships for over two decades and likewise their continual World Cup failures. They hadn’t won anything. The odds on Greece winning the title were 300-1 which is why to this day the achievement remains one of the most significant upsets in European Championships history.
The film skims over the internal politics with regards to Otto reconfiguring the team, making cuts and recruiting new debutantes, that would form the new cohesive machine he was looking to make worthy of international A-Grade football. Instead, the film focuses on the culture differences in German and Greek stereotypes which provide for many comical set-ups peppered throughout the 90 minute feature.
It reunites the players with their former coach as they give a mellowed recount during the culture clashing adjustment period, new training regimens, language barriers through narrations and old media clips. These challenges that would later become a turning point in Greek football redeeming a nation’s embarrassment into pride.
Die-hard fans will appreciate the insight into the internal team dynamics, however the director seems mindful of telling a story that will resonate with non-soccer fans using a performative format.
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