This is a flashback on history that for me was unfamiliar and enlightening. In 1986 the riots between the Protestant and Catholic Church were becoming a regular backdrop to everyday life. Simultaneously, Northern Ireland qualified for the World Cup for the third time, travelling to Mexico to compete against the best in the world.
Shooting for Socrates intersperses actual footage from both the World Cup competition and the riots throughout, emphasising its historical setting. The story is told from several perspectives, providing an interesting take on both the conflict and the football that was able to quell it – if only for a night. The standout performance for me was Richard Dormer as Arthur, a father teaching his almost ten year old son Tommy (Art Parkinson) lessons on morality while shielding him from the chaos. There was a level of maturity and goodwill from the directing and acting that was heart-warming, and while the pacing was slow, at no point did that feel like a hindrance.
At its core, Shooting for Socrates is a film about football and the power of hope. Not an exceptional showing by any means, but still a pleasant enough way to spend a couple of hours.
Shooting for Socrates is currently screening at the BBC First British Film Festival.