Death of a Gentleman ***
Dirs: Sam Collins, Jarrod Kimber, Johnny Blank. Documentary with: Jonathan Agnew, Ian Chappell, Gideon Haigh, Michael Holding. 99 mins. Cert: NC
This is a contentious argument to venture amid an Ashes summer, but it’s worth hearing – and readymade for discussion in the TMS lunch slot. Cricket bloggers Sam Collins and Jarrod Kimber’s conversations with players, analysts and administrators frequently return to one topic: the vast schism opening up between the game’s haves (England, Australia and India, pocketing the TV rights) and have-nots. A season’s worth of stories – the IPL, Allen Stanford, internal ICC politics – find themselves squeezed into a single session, yet Collins and Kimber obtain revealing interactions with cricketing powerbrokers (bluff ECB suit Giles Clarke, guarded IPL kingmaker Lalit Modi) and the gathering clouds never quite obscure the filmmakers’ evident love of the game. They know the Twenty20 format provides plentiful cinematic spectacle, even as the editorial positions this quick hit as symptomatic of a wider institutional crisis, where the Boycott-slow matter of grassroots development is valued far less than cold hard cash-in-hand.
Death of a Gentleman is now playing in selected cinemas.