|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
An image from Eleven Men
Out, Róbert I. Douglas,
Kingdom, 2005; 90 min.
Imagine a major athlete disclosing his homosexuality to a reporter from
Sports Illustrated. That's sort of the premise for Eleven Men Out, which
centers on a star Icelandic soccer player, Óttar Thor (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson),
who announces his sexual orientation in the locker room following a team
practice. That he has not told anyone else in his life -- from his father, who is
the team coach, to his ex-wife, a former Miss Iceland, to his teenage son, to his
teammates, is merely an afterthought. Óttar isn't exactly Mr. Sensitivity. In fact,
he's something of a self-centered jerk. To his credit, director and co-writer
Róbert I. Douglas doesn't really redeem the character over the course of the
film. Having lived a life of privilege thanks to his celebrity status on the soccer
field, Óttar continues to project that smugness and entitlement.
Once he has come out of the closet, though, Óttar finds himself a man
without a team. Despite his star ranking, he is booted off the professional
team. Eventually, he agrees to join an amateur team that has a couple of other
gay players on it. A couple of the heterosexual members object to playing on
a "gay" team and quit, and eventually the team is comprised mostly of out,
gay men. Some opponents refuse to play them and the team begins to win its
amateur division. Meanwhile, the professional team is struggling and
management has to figure out a way to get its star back on the field.
Eleven Men Out has an intriguing premise, but it doesn't really work
as well as it should, partly because Óttar is not a terribly likable character and
partly because the story feels forced. Douglas can be commended for wanting
to explore what it means to be homosexual in a society rife with machismo, but
I don't feel he succeeded in his intent.
Rating: C -