Playing in the World Cup is the ultimate goal for any soccer player. However, the road to get there is never easy and few actually reach the pinnacle. In the documentary Ordinary Gods, director Pascui Rivas follows six different young footballers as they hope to reach their ultimate goal.
The film’s structure is basic, following these talented young players through a number of years as they develop their game — they transfer clubs and all have the highs and lows of their young playing careers. The film’s subjects are often documented at a distance, whether training or living their lives, but the true insight is when they are interviewed and able to fully disclose their feelings about the careers that have turned them into mega-superstars.
While not all who dream of footballing glory will go on to global superstardom and the chance to compete in the World Cup, the rare few that do make it extra rewarding to watch. One of those is Quinton Tolisso, a young Frenchman playing for his hometown club in France, Lyon. Touted as one of the best young players in the world, it is clear the talent is there, but the struggle mentally to move onto a bigger club and leave his home is a beyond tough choice for him. While the film stops documenting before the World Cup, Tolisso does eventually move to Bayern Munich, one of top clubs in the world, and is part of the winning French World Cup team.
One example of a player for whom it doesn’t work out is Scotland’s Oliver Burke. Rivas and his team document Burke’s move to Germany from England, and his subsequent struggles with the Scottish national team then a move back to England after it didn’t work out in Germany.
While the storylines are nothing new, the journey these professional footballers go through is daunting. What often appears as a fully glamorous lifestyle is often filled with peril and more downs than ups. Many more struggle to achieve their ultimate goals than actually do.
Ordinary Gods should appeal to all lovers of sports, a worthwhile view in what appears to be an extremely loaded Cinequest documentary film program.