Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie
Directed by: Brian Helgeland
Written By: Brian Helgeland
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 8 min
I’m a sucker for schmaltzy sports dramas. The trials and tribulations of the players, the set backs just before the final act and the inspirational speeches that set everything right. The slow motion shots, the rousing music, all leading to the game winning play – YES! Go team! You jump out of your seat punching the air totally lost in the moment. 42 had all that, and it’s a true story, so how come it turned out so.. so dull?
Jackie Robinson certainly deserved a better biopic than this. From the beginning the movie 42 seemed lost in its own self importance. Long drawn out shots of Jackie (Chadwick Boseman). Lingering sun drenched shots through cigar smoke of Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford). A seemingly endless parade of clichéd ‘inspirational’ speeches. It just gets way over the top, and in the end, I didn’t really learn all that much about Jackie Robinson or Branch Rickey.
If you’re a big fan of baseball you probably already know all about Jackie Robinson. You won’t learn anything new here. Just keep your expectations low, and you may get some enjoyment out of this.
Those lingering shots I mentioned were actually nicely photographed, so a large digital matinee would be nice. At home a HD viewing for sure.
Best scene for me:
The team are playing in Cincinnati, and as expected, the presence of an African American isn’t welcomed by the crowd. The scene focuses on a young boy sitting next to his father. The father and son talk about their favorite player – Pee Wee Reese. When Jackie Robinson steps out onto the field, the father gets angry and starts yelling all manner of racist garbage. The son, clearly influenced by his father, starts to do the same. At that point, Pee Wee Reese runs over to Jackie and puts his arm around him and they talk. Much to the chagrin of the crowd. We cut back to the young boy, who is now not shouting with the other adults because his hero Pee Wee Reese seems to be friends with Jackie Robinson. It’s a simple but effective scene, and speaks to the importance of having positive role models in kids lives.