REVIEW: ‘The Pogmentary’ Will Not Change Minds

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Pogmentary - But Why Tho

The Pogmentary is a French and English language sports documentary series exclusively on Amazon Prime, directed by Jérémie Levypon. The five-episode series follows the life of Paul Pogba, the French footballer, as he reaches the end of his time as a Manchester United player. The story shows Pogba’s childhood and sporting achievements whilst also showcasing his current activities.

The structure of the documentary is really bad, making it difficult to even stick with it. Each episode is half an hour-long, and so little happens within it. The individual episodes are meant to have a specific focus, but they end up blending into one another. The last part of the previous episode becomes the start of the next. And very little happens inside the documentary—certainly not enough for it to be a full series. Pogba spends time with his wife and children, hopping between Manchester, France, and America, talking about his training and his sporting achievements. None of it is really captivating, and it takes too long for anything to really happen. Even when progressing into an episode about a tournament of the current season, that part is largely brushed over. 

Nothing is really learned about the life of a footballer. Most of the events in the story are between a year to 4 years old, meaning that most viewers already know what has happened. The interesting moments are him talking about his past and his upbringing, which is something that should be highlighted. Because the present-day adventures are just dull. Even the glitz and glamour of an incredibly rich person’s lifestyle does little to draw me in.

The personalities within The Pogmentary actually do more to derail it than attract attention. The first thing to be noted is that many of the news stories surrounding this series have taken one of the most prominent lines out of context. The comment about Jesus being loved and crucified was never said by Pogba, nor directed at or about him. It was his agent, Mina Raiola, who made the comparison about himself. Raiola’s presence in the story is quite damaging to the series. He was always a controversial figure in football (he died shortly before the release of the documentary), and this series does not do much to make him likeable. The arrogance is overbearing and he offers very little insight into his job or what he does. There is this constant talk of demanding respect, but he offered little to anyone else in the duration of the documentary. Pogba’s lawyer, Rafaela Pimenta, is more endearing, but only because Raiola isn’t at all. She seems to spend her time on-screen sneering at anybody who has ever criticised her client. 

That leaves the man himself and his family. My previous opinion of Pogba had been that he was charismatic and full of personality. That has diminished quite a bit since watching a full-length documentary series about him, where he can be considered boring at times. His tone of voice barely changes, even when talking about exciting moments, such as winning the World Cup, losing his father, or even playing with Cristiano Ronaldo. There is also not much acceptance of him doing anything wrong or making mistakes, which would perhaps shine a sympathetic light over him. There is attention drawn to a rejection letter he received as a child, but that is the only example of a display of weakness. In comparison to the Rooney documentary, telling the story of another former Manchester United player, most of the film is exposing his errors and confesses his sins. Pogba is most genuine and enjoyable when talking about his friends and teammates, and that love for his compatriots does appear real. And I think he is being honest about anything he says. Every comment he makes appears believable. His wife, Zulay, is cheerful, but the chemistry is strong enough on-screen to be investing, and she has a similar blase.

For football fans, there are cameos from other footballers, including current and former teammates for club and country. But their presence is either silent, brief, or awkward.

The one positive about The Pogmentary is that it is nicely made. The lighting and the camera work is beautiful, but not groundbreaking. The music choice is constantly lively and descriptive of the location Pogba is in at the time. And each episode features an animated segment that depicts a part of Pogba’s life. For example, a goal, or his arrival into England at a young age. The art is impressive and it adds something different to the otherwise dull documentary. Actual football matches are shown in glimpses, not focusing on them for long.

The Pogmentary is not going to change minds. If you are a fan of him you may enjoy the exploration of his life story and near-endless footage of him with his family. But if someone found him obnoxious or whether he still belonged at Manchester United, your opinion will be solidified. It is painfully long and overdrawn, with anything slightly interesting drowned out by sheer boredom. It is even more unfortunate that Rooney came out not long ago, as it shows how to create this kind of documentary in a much better way. Nothing is learned and it ultimately feels soulless, unable to truly capture Pogba’s personality in a way the creators may not have intended. It doesn’t really close out the saga between him and Manchester United, nor does it offer hints for his future. So it ultimately feels pointless.

The Pogmentary is available on Amazon Prime


The Pogmentary
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    Rating - 3/10
3/10

TL;DR

The Pogmentary is not going to change minds. If you are a fan of him you may enjoy the exploration of his life story and near-endless footage of him with his family. But if someone found him obnoxious or whether he still belonged at Manchester United, your opinion will be solidified. It is painfully long and overdrawn, with anything slightly interesting drowned out by sheer boredom. It is even more unfortunate that Rooney came out not long ago, as it shows how to create this kind of documentary in a much better way. Nothing is learned and it ultimately feels soulless, unable to truly capture Pogba’s personality in a way the creators may not have intended. It doesn’t really close out the saga between him and Manchester United, nor does it offer hints for his future. So it ultimately feels pointless.