Building Jerusalem ****
Dir: James Erskine. With: Sir Clive Woodward, Jonny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson. 89 mins. Cert: 12A
The latest sports doc from the industrious James Erskine zeroes in on that mid-1990s moment when English rugby union was converted from hidebound amateur pursuit to the better organised proposition that carried home the 2003 World Cup. Again, Erskine’s broadly conventional method involves informed talking heads casting light on carefully sourced archive: bluff warrior Martin Johnson represents the old school, pensive Jonny Wilkinson the new wave. Yet he’s becoming more adept at juggling the micro (analysis of coach Clive Woodward’s myriad one-yard gains) with the macro (discussing the mixed bag of Murdoch money), and retains his knack for uncovering the human stories behind these gamechangers: Johnson’s excitement at receiving a free mobile from sponsors soon subsided upon realising nobody else had one to call. Wilkinson’s dropkick against the Wallabies is the pay-off, but Erskine sees there’s something both instructive and inspiring in rewinding the play and detailing the foundations that permitted such elevation.
Building Jerusalem screens in selected cinemas for one night only this Tuesday, ahead of its DVD release on Monday 14.