El Presidente review: Makes for a great watch if you are a football enthusiast

The story

Soccer started emerging as a popular sport at a global level at the turn of the millennium. Millions of dollars were pumped in to acquire broadcasting rights. By the end of 2015, a scandal was unveiled that some influential players from North and South American Football associations were tipped off heavily by broadcasting agents to acquire coverage rights. On the truth being revealed these corrupt officials were taken into custody.

The review

The story gives viewers a detailed insight into the money laundering and all that goes into getting FIFA on the global charts, not only as an international game, but as a successful business of football. Armando Bo, the director who also bagged an award for the screenplay of Birdman (2014), has put up yet another fabulous show. As a director he is not only invested on how the story will be narrated, but also directed it in an appropriate manner to bring the best out of the cast. It’s also amazing to watch what all goes into the making of a good football star.

It’s interesting how Armando Bo gets the late Don Julio/Julio Grondona (Luis Margani) to lend his voice (even after showing his funeral in the series). The narration works as an excellent bridge to help onlookers understand the ongoings of the series in a better manner.

Andrés Parra, who plays Sergio Jadue, seems like a clone of the real Sergio Jadue. He has played the role of being the titular figurehead to the National Football Association with immense conviction. He is ambitious, but lacks the IQ to achieve what he really wants. Destiny simply plays its part, and the designation literally falls in his lap. The shades of grey are very evident in his character. Especially, where he nudges the boys to play the game for a win, but bamboozles them with a promise of paying them $20,000 two days later, and giving his car keys to the captain as a co-lateral.

Andrés has not only mirrored the physicality of the character, but displays the exact emotions as portrayed by the real former President of the National Association of Professional Football (Chile), Sergio Jadue.

Some of the dialogues are penned down with a lot of thought, and create quite an impact. Take, for instance, “Of course the players are the real stars, but they have a very short shelf-life.” Another thought provoking line is, “The Soccer ball never stops spinning and earning.”

Nené's character is essayed by the famous 'Narcos' star Paulina Gaitan. She is a powerful influence on Sergio Jadue, and plays an imperative role in catalysing the cause for the greater good of his career. She willfully uses her charm to light his ambition. She is absolutely capable of throwing her weight around if given the opportunity, and also plays her cards in a politically-correct manner.

El Presidente makes for a great watch if you are a football enthusiast. The story is largely inspired by real-life events, with a few twist of course, but a watch that is indeed worth its while. The eight-part series can certainly be compared to Brad Pitt-starrer ‘Moneyball’ (with the only difference that Moneyball circumvents around baseball).

Name of the series: El Presidente (saeson 1)

Platform: Amazon Prime

Number of Episodes: 8 (Approximately 1 Hour Each)

Cast: Andrés Parra, Karla Souza, Paulina Gatian, Alberto Ajaka, Luis Genecco, Luis Margani, Jean Pierre Noher

Director: Armando Bo

Rating: 4/5

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Free Press Journal