Thursday, December 22, 2016
Race - DVD Review
Written by Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse.
Directed by Stephen Hopkins.
This shiny inspirational story of Jesse Owens feels too safe. This could have been a powerful epic, but casting Jason Sudeikis as his coach is a dead giveaway how low its aspirations are. He's fine, but you're not exactly shooting to be a masterpiece when you make a move like that.
The movie's strongpoint is Stephan James (who played John Lewis in Selma) as Owens. He guides us through the film's straightforward sentimentality, even if we don't really get to know him well. The movie spends a lot of time hopping around with other famous characters of the times. (Here's Joseph Goebbels! There's Leni Reifenstahl!) Even so, it's a great story. We follow Owens from being a star college athlete to him deciding against outside pressures to boycott the 1936 Olympics. Better to win in front of Hitler than forfeit.
The end title-cards reveal that more depth could have been added to the movie. For instance, why did FDR's White House never acknowledge his achievements?
As it is, it feels like a semi-sequel to 42.