Monday, September 09, 2013

JUST A LOAD OF BALLS?
42 is a film that recounts the story of Jackie Robinson, the first black player in the major baseball league in the US. And while he was a significant part of American sporting history, here director Brian Helgeland (best known as screen writer on films like Robin Hood, LA Confidential and Mystic River) has gone for the cheesy mythologising approach. It's not that 42 is a bad film per se (Chadwick Boseman makes a decent fist as Robinson) but it feels like a made for TV film that just happens to have Harrison Ford in it. Ford plays Branch Rickey, head of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the man who brought Robinson to the team, like a cross between Foghorn Leghorn and Richard Nixon, who seems in danger of chewing up anybody who comes near him as well as the scenery. There is an interesting story hiding here somewhere, with racism rife in baseball at the time,  but it's all so hokey and hackneyed that it just doesn't feel like we're getting any of the real tale. It's pleasant enough but it's a film that won't stay with you once you've left the cinema. Bland and inoffensive, it will only play well in the US and perhaps a few other countries obsessed with baseball. In fact, it already came out in the US earlier this year, so it's getting a token release elsewhere in the world…

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