This is a movie about the FIFA that's largely funded by the FIFA, so of course people are calling it a propaganda movie. But is it really? Well, yes of course it is, though I still at the same time have to admit that it's not trying to glorify the FIFA organization and executives as badly as some people try and make you believe.
It's definitely a movie that constantly keeps hinting at corruption, on all sorts of levels, without ever really showing you anything really though. But that's the whole problem of this movie; it's doing a lot but at the very same time it's actually showing and telling you very little. It feels like a telling of events, rather than a movie that's trying to tell you a story, with a clear beginning, middle and end in it and one that's following one and the same character all throughout its running time. Instead, it's following three different character, each during another time period, during their FIFA presidency.
Maybe I wouldn't even necessarily call the story a bad one, since the storytelling actually is a far bigger problem with this movie. The way it tells and shows you things...It actually absolutely never shows you how the FIFA operates or what it does for the sport, other than organizing a world cup every 4 years. It's not an insightful movie at all but on top of that, it's also lacking any form of emotions or ever becomes an engaging movie to watch with either its story or characters. You just never get to know what drives the characters or what's their background and relation to football. It's an extremely shallow movie to watch. It's not informative, not interesting and I just really don't understand what this movie was trying to do and eventually achieve.
It tells it's story like a PowerPoint presentation, without any emotions or truly insightful information. It's just giving you 'facts' or at least an interpretation of it and it's telling you about certain events, that you probably knew all about already.
It of course also is weird to watch a sports movie that actually features very little sport in it. It uses a combination of archive footage and newly shot scenes for some of the older cup matches but like I said, there aren't an awful lot scenes that actually involve football. It's more about the people behind the scenes, who mainly just do a lot of talking. Just never interesting talking though. It's ridicules to watch how easily certain decisions are made and there never are any real arguments in this movie between any of the characters. No, a conflict is never much of a conflict in this movie and a problem never a real problem or obstacle. It course adds to the reasons why this movie feels like an extremely shallow, simplistic and forgettable one.
Another thing that feels weird about this movie is the cast. I mean, here we have a controversial movie about a controversial organization, that yet isn't doing anything surprising or insightful with its story but yet the movie is filled with some well known and respected actors in it, such as Tim Roth, Sam Neill, Thomas Kretschmann and the slightly less respected Russian actor Gérard Depardieu. And no, not an awful lot wrong with the acting in this movie but that's actually what feels so weird about it. It's weird to hear all of these fine actors say so much terrible dialog and see them do so many absolutely terrible scenes, that are about nothing.
The movie has a terrible flow. All scenes feel far too short and it constantly feels like the movie is glossing over a whole bunch of stuff. The movie starts off somewhere in 1928 I believe and it ends around 2004 for some odd reason but that nevertheless is a time-span of over 70 years, yet the movie itself only is under 2 hours short. It should tell you something about its pace and the amount of stuff that it has to gloss over. Because of the bad pacing, things never get developed in a proper and effective enough kind of way. With all that glossing you would expect the movie to only skip to the good parts but instead of that the movie often starts to repeat itself with its themes and it actually rarely feels that the story is ever moving forward with anything. Perhaps that should really tell you something about the FIFA organization as well. You can say that this movie is symbolic for the FIFA as an organization; Lots of talking but very little action and it's rarely ever doing anything new or something that's not predictable.
But sure, there are some positives about this movie as well. One is definitely the look of it. In essence, this is a real period piece, since it's constantly set in the past. Despite its relatively low budget, it's still a pretty good and convincing looking movie, although you can at all times tell when it's using CGI for its backgrounds and when a scene is really shot inside of real stadium and when it isn't. But still, I really enjoyed and appreciated the look of the movie, that felt authentic and I besides also liked how the movie maintained a solid and very constant visual style all throughout.
And other than that...well, I can't think of anymore true positive points really. It's not quite as terrible as some people claim it is but it still remains a very poorly constructed and told movie, that really isn't ever being an insightful, surprising or engaging movie to watch.