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:: Looking For Eric

Looking For Eric explores the tragic psyche of a postal worker on his last nerve. Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) is stuck in a life barely worth living. With two failed marriages, two disrespectful step-sons, and an all-encompassing bout of depression, Eric's deteriorating mind seeks guidance from his hero; Manchester United legend Eric Cantona (played by himself).

Cantona is an interesting presence, as a ‘spirit-guide’ figure, offering philosophical aid in an effort to get pull him out of his rut and get his life in order once again. The idea is certainly original, and promising, but the movie does take a while to build any kind of momentum. The real allure of this film is the gradual development of the ‘other’ Eric, despite a pretty daft final act, witnessed in that down-to-earth, ‘feels almost like a documentary’ style of director Ken Loach.

The very fact that Eric must project his strength into an imaginary representation of his idol, Cantona (rather than embodying that strength himself), demonstrates how truly sad and desperate he is. However, the film is an exploration of his mental journey, and shows how redemption is possible, even from the lowest of low points in a person's life.

Described as an ‘heroic comedy’ by distributors Icon, Looking For Eric achieves that heroism not in the way you might expect from a diet of Rocky, but in the most understated way possible, through perseverance and accumulative effort. It does lack that “comedy” element if that is what they are trying to pitch.

While definitely a film for football fans (there are times when the characters will discuss certain matches, plays, players… all of which will go straight over the head of someone who doesn't follow the sport), Looking For Eric has a lot of heart, and the performances are very good. Cantona's thick French accent gets by adequately. It isn't a bad watch, even for those of a non-football type.

DVD Extras

Audio Commentary with Ken Loach
Audio Description