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|Eddie the Eagle|
dir Dexter Fletcher
scr Sean Macaulay, Simon Kelton
prd Matthew Vaughn, Adam Bohling, David Reid, Rupert Maconick, Valerie Van Galder
with Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Tim McInnerny, Christopher Walken, Jim Broadbent, Keith Allen, Jo Hartley, Iris Berben, Mark Benton, Rune Temte, Edvin Endre, Russell Balogh
release US 26.Feb.16, UK 1.Apr.16
16/UK Marv 1h45
Nice guys finish last: Egerton and Jackman
SUNDANCE FILM FEST
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Based on the true story of the unlikely star of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, this is a shameless crowd-pleaser, telling its story with humour and emotion while building to a series of thrilling set pieces. Like its title character, the film is scruffy and goofy and impossible to dislike. So just give in already and enjoy the ride.
Eddie Edwards (Egerton) has grown up with an obsession to be an Olympian, but he has no talent for sport. A regional champion downhill skier, he's so annoying that the head of the British Olympics Team (McInnerny) simply disqualifies him from try-outs. So at 22 he decides to become Great Britain's only ski jumper, travelling to Germany to train on his own. There he meets has-been jumper Bronson (Jackman) and through sheer tenacity convinces him to help. And while the Olympics bosses raise the bar to keep him out, he simply won't give up.
Yes, this is a very funny story about a young dork who refuses to take no for an answer, despite opposition from his too-realistic father (Allen), sporting officials and competitors. Almost the only people in his corner are his gently subversive mum (Hartley) and, begrudgingly, Bronson. Each character is vivid and engaging, so the unusually honest interaction is hugely entertaining. And director Fletcher tells the story with humour and heart, building strong momentum through clever camerawork, editing and music.
Egerton channels Eddie's clumsy charm perfectly, managing to be both irritating and loveable at the same time. His joy is infectious. And Jackman has a great time as the cantankerous, bitter loser who slowly comes out of his own shell. Watching these two guys open up to each other and the world around them is almost as exciting as Eddie's madcap experiences on the slopes. And the supporting cast is encouraged to add riotous textures to every side of the story.
Anyone who remembers these Games will recall Eddie's impact, stealing focus from the wealthy, entitled athletes who normally fill winter competition line-ups. Eddie proved that having a big heart was even more important than lifelong training. And Fletcher crafts his story so that it builds to a terrific climax that echoes real events while making them come to life in a way that's hilarious, thrilling and surprisingly resonant. Which means that Eddie's offbeat story will now inspire a whole new generation.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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