One of the most awaited Netflix sports of the year called “Beckham” is a four-part docuseries, produced and directed by Fisher Stevens, that focuses on the life of David Beckham. It examines the many aspects of his life that includes his highly successful football career to his tabloid-friendly romance and marriage to former “Spice Girl” Victoria.
In this series, Director Stevens interviews not only David and Victoria Beckham but also David’s parents and many of his former teammates from Manchester United, the English Premier League team where Beckham spent most of his professional football career, Real Madrid, the England national team, and more.
Analysis of all episodes
With David Beckham himself serving as a producer on the series, Episode 1 of the 4 long episodes series (each clocking in at around 70 minutes a piece) starts with Beckham’s wonder goal from the halfway line in a match against Wimbledon. From there, the director sheds light on Beckham’s upbringing and childhood. This eventually brings us back to the starting point.
The 2nd episode of this series shifts focus on the awful abuse David Beckham suffered due to the media as well as the angry football fans. This includes the harshest possible attitude such as bullets sent in the mail death threats and consistent boos from those inside stadiums. There’s also a point where someone had strung up an effigy of Beckham outside their pub.
There are some important moments in the series when Beckham becomes emotional and relieves some of the most painful memories of his football career, thus reflecting on the significance of mental health. At one point in the documentary, we are told that “99.9% of footballers may not have even thought of surviving what Beckham went through,”. The analysis of Beckham’s mental and physical transformation through archival footage is certainly a thought-provoking evaluation of, even though rare, how abusive English football fans can become.
Episode 3 of the series switches focuses on Beckham’s dispute with Sir Alex Ferguson which subsequently resulted in Beckham leaving United for Real Madrid in the summer of 2003. The most interesting part of the series includes the insightful interviews with Victoria Beckham. In fact, all the segments with the former Spice Girl “Posh” are probably the best of the entire series, as we see her appreciate as well as criticize her husband in an unbiased manner. She also provides a detailed perspective on the family aspect of Beckham’s life.
The 4th and final episode briefly focuses on Beckham’s affair and every other thing that leads up to Inter Miami as well as Lionel Messi signing for them in the summer of 2023 after the termination of the Argentine’s contract with PSG. The 4th episode is probably the weakest of all 4 episodes. Everything here looks highly rushed and looks more like a footnote than a fully fleshed-out examination. One can even argue that this requires one more episode to stretch out the content for the purpose of adding more reactions and thoughts on Beckham purchasing Inter Miami and what’s happened since the acquisition.
Memorable highlights of the documentary
The documentary “Beckham” may have some of the greatest selection of interview subjects ever collected to revisit the life of a legendary footballer. The interviews conducted include former teammates of David Beckham from Manchester United, Real Madrid, and LA Galaxy. Former managers and the president of Real Madrid make comments about Beckham and help provide a comprehensive analysis of his life.
The loveliest interviews are from his Manchester United teammates, those who grew up with him. Former Manchester United players such as Gary Neville speak about the man with such admiration and those connections are highly fantastic to get. Former Real Madrid “Galacticos” such as Ronaldo, Luis Figo, and Roberto Carlos also commented on the highly significant influence of Beckham in Spain.
Editing and Direction
It is important to note that the editing of Michael Harte is excellent. Moreover, there are many moments in the series that are very engaging. There is a consistent motif here of someone providing an interview and making a matter of fact comment, only for cutting to someone else that opposes the initial statement. As a director, Fisher has done an excellent job. One of the most unconventional techniques that Fisher tries to execute is the idea of playing the projection of a game on the face of an interview subject. For instance, Beckham is speaking while his first-ever Manchester United game is also displayed over his skin. Even though its quite captivating on screen but it is also slightly uncomfortable for the documentary participants. The camera is also too close, the faces too big. As a result, it can also be awkward for a long period of time.
Overall, The Netflix documentary “Beckham” is a highly engaging and entertaining series comprising of 4 episodes. It’s a comprehensive and thought provoking evaluation of an athlete who went to the absolute peak of his career, went rock bottom and survived being one of the most disliked men in the UK. Yet, he never lost hope and only rose back up to his absolute best as a legend of the game as well as a highly successful entrepreneur.
Beckham is now available for streaming on Netflix.