PO Box 306, Glasgow, G21 2AE, Scotland
Sutton Impact; Celtic FC DVD/ video; 80 minutes approx; £16.99
Hard to believe in the harsh climate that dictates Celtic's finances these days that Martin O'Neill was allowed to spend £6 million on his first signing for the club. Five years later the Commercial Department are shilling this DVD about Chris Sutton for the guts of seventeen quid. I think MON got the best value for money.
This bills itself as 'the remarkable story of Chris Sutton and his contribution to Celtic's outstanding success over the last five seasons.' Does it do what it says on the tin?
As far as Sutton's life is concerned we are told practically nothing: where he comes from, his family background his fledgling football life, all is still shrouded in mystery. Even his football career before coming to Celtic Park - Norwich, Blackburn, Chelsea - is barely alluded to throughout the film, other than a two minute summary from MON near the end.
So what we're getting here is no biography, but rather a reprise of his five seasons in the Hoops. This is done by way of a commentary, written by Gerry McDade and voiced by Archie MacPherson, and an interview (singular) with the man himself, shot pretty much entirely in medium close up in front of a very distracting bank of monitors replaying his goals for Celtic. Judging by the equally distracting clock the interview appears to have lasted two hours.
Additional comments are added by Martin O'Neill, Henrik Larsson and, for some strange reason, Billy Connolly.
At different points in the film McDade's script describes Sutton as 'typically forthright' and 'a maverick', and there's every reason to believe that he is both of these things; his comments after the Kilmarnock game, for example, or his mischievous replies to interviewers after matches are evidence of both of these traits. Yet here he comes across as neither, for which I think I'd have to blame the person asking the questions.
In this case it's Celtic View editor Paul Cuddihy, who seems to be deliberately trying to avoid anything 'maverick' or 'forthright'. The result is another of those stunningly banal living Celtic View productions that I've come to dread having to review. It's so po faced and earnest in its tone that long before my hour and seventeen minutes was up I was longing for Sutton to do something maverick to Cuddihy.
We're given a summary of the important moments in Sutton's time at CP and he's invited to enlighten us about his signing for the club, his favourite goals, his big nights in Europe and so on, and what rescues the film from being completely unwatchable is that these snippets are intercut with action, mainly goals. Henke features a lot as well, which is another redeeming feature.
Unfortunately too much of the action is spoiled by some awful overdubbed commentaries, something which has become a major irritation to me in the last couple of videos I've watched. Please stop trying to make these guys sound as if they were there at the time!
Sutton himself says that scoring goals is only a part of his game, but you wonder what the people who churn these videos out would do to pad them to an hour and a bit if they ever have to make a film about some of our less than prolific scorers, say, Neil Lennon.
Sutton has been a tremendous player for Celtic during the last five seasons and he has given us some magic moments in that time - most of which, to be fair, feature here - and personally I've always thought he's quite an intriguing character. Having watched this film I was reminded of his outstanding contributions to the team but was no nearer an inkling as to what makes him tick (or even 'Tic).
The DVD version has a bonus feature which is a 20 minute montage of all Sutton's goals for Celtic, all of which appear in the feature itself.
Another video by numbers I'm afraid although the timing of its release virtually guarantees it'll be in the sale long before it's time to buy Uncle Tim's Christmas present.
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