Infinite Football review: A disappointing documentary
Final whistle satisfaction3
Mike Williams | On 11, May 2020
Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
Cast: Laurentiu Ginghina
Watch Infinite Football online in the UK: BFI Player / Curzon Home Cinema
On the surface of Corneliu Porumboiu’s documentary about Laurentiu Ginghina, a seemingly ordinary man obsessed with redefining the modern game of football, one would assume a fascinating delve into the creation of a new sport would be passionately thrust upon us.
Sadly, that’s not the case, as the relatively short – a mere 70 minutes – interview-style doc plays out in weird and unengaging fashion. Its drawn-out anecdotal beginning sees Laurentiu explains a childhood incident involving a footballing injury, which proves to be linked via a chain of unfortunate events to his focus on recreating the beautiful game. It’s easy to lose interest before that dialogue-heavy tale concludes.
Infinite Football has plenty of ideas bandied around and the potential for some interesting, passionate discussion, yet director and writer Corneliu capitalises on neither. Instead what we are subjected to is a series of particularly long and static interviews that often drift off into a variety of tangents and feel awkward and ill at ease. This in turn transfers a level of discomfort to us when conversations tail off or the questioning becomes a little too real for our makeshift star to swallow.
What could have been a lively and eventful exploration into this man’s plausible, if not completely viable, idea to get the ball rolling on a new form of footy without the approval (or even recognition) from FIFA, turns into a poorly edited borefest that does little to liven up the wordy back-and-forths. Despite this being Corneliu’s sophomore directorial effort, he loses sight during the editing process and fails to consider how the entirety would play out for audiences at home.
Apart from one scene where Laurentiu’s idea is trialled on an indoor pitch, the pair talk (again, at considerable length) in drab offices or dimly lit hallways, rendering the whole thing deeply uninteresting for even the most avid football fan. Had we seen interviews with footballing bodies, players, ex-players, or anyone else who could’ve taken this concept and tried to make it mainstream, it might have given the feature more purpose. As it stands, we witness two men chatting at meandering length as each time their exchange peters into nothing – and that’s a real tragedy.
Infinite Football fails to sell us the vital information, let alone the love and passion for the sport, or even a hook to maintain our interest past the first 10 minutes; bar learning the basic rules of this new sport, you don’t learn anything else. For those who appreciate anecdotal, philosophical chats that never progress beyond an existential musing, this hour or so may satisfy. Anyone else will be left disappointed.