Diamantino review – delightfully daft football fantasy

A disgraced world-class striker’s life descends into chaos as he adopts a child refugee, becomes a vote-leave poster boy – and gets cloned by the government

If Cristiano Ronaldo fell asleep after gorging on year-old camembert, his dreams could not match the bizarre bonkersness of this enjoyably throwaway romantic sci-fi satire from Portugal about a megastar footballer who falls victim of a government cloning plot. He grows breasts, adopts a child refugee and inadvertently becomes the poster boy for a “vote leave” campaign in a fictional EU referendum. Like I said, barking.

Ronaldo must be the inspiration, physically at least, for striker Diamantino Matamouros, so famous he’s known simply by his first name. It’s a nicely comic performance by Carloto Cotta, who plays the footballer like a ripped Forrest Gump: empty-headed but adorable. Even his narcissism is sweet – Diamantino sleeps under duvet covers printed with his own face and has the inner life of a bunny rabbit. On the pitch, in the four or five seconds it takes to score a goal, in the moment of genius, he has visions of a giant pekinese puppies invading the pitch.

After fluffing a title-deciding penalty in the World Cup, Diamantino retires, turning his hand to humanitarianism, adopting a teenage boy from Mozambique. This “boy” is actually a female undercover secret service agent called Aisha who is looking for evidence of money-laundering. However, it’s Diamantino’s pantomime-evil twin sisters who are the real criminals. The pair have volunteered their gullible brother for a top-secret ministry of propaganda cloning programme to produce a football team of top strikers. Poor, unwitting Diamantino is pumped full hormones that have seriously freaky side effects: he wakes up one morning to find he’s grown female breasts.

The film is fun, but, for all its inventiveness, it’s a bit tame, with its nice-but-dim hero. But Diamantino is never dull.


Cath Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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