Gascoigne ***Dir: Jane Preston. With: Paul Gascoigne, Gary Lineker, José Mourinho, Wayne Rooney. 90 mins. Cert: 15.
Jane Preston’s documentary tackles the week’s most extraordinary narrative – the life of Paul Gascoigne, as told in his own, sometimes faltering words – in naggingly cursory fashion: it plumps for fond tribute, when it might have yielded something more instructive. The first half rounds up the highlights: the singular on-pitch talent, the anecdotes featuring such priceless inquiries as “Can I borrow an ostrich?” Then the daftness shades into something else; viewed in retrospect, that night in Turin suggested tears – and recklessness – were never far away. Here, Preston backs off: there’s nowt on Sheryl, and the final moments barrel past Gascoigne’s recent troubles much as his younger self did opposition defenders. Still, it’s heartening to see those old crowdpleasing instincts return when discussing, say, that Vinnie Jones photo, or the fallout from the dentist’s chair – here, for the first time in years, Gazza is granted the time and space to express himself as only he could.
Gascoigne screens in selected cinemas for one night only this Thursday.