Becoming Zlatan full movie review - A good documentary on a saturated topic
Zlatan is not an unknown gem of a footballer, nor is he an elite talent with a mysterious life. He is a mega-star and there are books, songs and documentaries about him.
This documentary is enjoyable even though it doesn't tell you anything new. Most of the footage is from broadcasts (football matches, interviews), home/locker room videos and recent retrospective interviews with people from that time. Missing from the list is Zlatan. I don't know the legal issues with the film, but simply put, they had access to Zlatan home videos but nothing new from Zlatan. No new home footage, no new shot footage, no new information. If you've read Zlatan's (ghost-written) autobiography, you'd see that there's nothing new to be said on the topic.
I'm not asking for deeper personal secrets, but this documentary doesn't say much. It's the same thing, his selfishness, the Van der Vaart event, his friendships with Mido and co., glowing retrospectives from coaches and managers.
The film focuses on Malmo and Ajax. It starts with his debut in Malmo and covers a little bit of him in Italy. I'm surprised by that. They glossed his poor background and family life, ignored his street footballing life, the Malmo academy years, what really made Zlatan Zlatan. And despite this being a 2015 film, it said nothing about Barcelona, Milan or PSG.
There are many sides to Zlatan - his tough immigrant background made him a fighter, Malmo gave him a career and made him a footballer rather than a petty criminal, Ajax made him think like a professional footballer in a team, not a street footballer doing tricks and in Italy he became a muscular striker.
One could approach it from another way - Zlatan learned Taekwondo (and has a black belt) which gives him an advantage over other footballers, his street style gave him an advantage over academy footballers in Sweden, and knowing languages made it easy for him to adapt to new cultures and leagues.
The film glosses over Zlatan's achievements, which is winning 8 consecutive league titles in 3 countries, together with 5 other non consecutive ones and a variety of other trophies.
The documentary made it look like he was a Swedish local pop sensation who made it big in the Benelux rather than an international star who was at his peak in Italy and Spain.
I understand that time is limited and it's hard to compress a career to a film, but you can either focus on his beginnings (which they didn't), his personal life (which they didn't) or his most significant years (not Sweden, but everywhere else).
Ultimately, this is a Swedish film about a Swedish athlete, and they wanted to focus on Sweden, which is fine. It is made for the Swedish market, even though Zlatan has fans everywhere.
Kudos to the directors for putting that Dutch TV segment where the reporter used some interesting choice of words to describe Zlatan. People outside the Netherlands don't know this sad part of our society, so it's interesting to see it in a film about of a footballer of all places.