Movie Reviews: Race

Last night I went to the early screening of Race, which opens today February 19th.
Overall it was a technically sound film, I am not really one for sports movies and this one left more unanswered questions than answers.

The film follows the story of Olympic athlete Jesse Owens through his journey to the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, under the Nazi rule. I am not a sporty person in any sense (maybe the occasional round of Wii Bowling) so I wasn't expecting to really enjoy this movie.

The beginning was great, giving some background on where Jesse Owens came from, showing his family and home life while subtly showing the daily racism he faced. This was interesting, things like having to sit at the back of the bus and getting dirty looks from people on the street but none of that really bothering him.

The other side of the film follows a man named Avery Brundage who represented the American Olympic Committee in Berlin, he gave the Germany Olympic representatives the option of either allowing Jewish athletes to compete or having the United States pull out of the games. I found these parts more interesting than the main story, but they really felt out of place in a film that was designed to be a bio-pic. The characters of Jesse Owens and Avery Brundage shared one scene together that had next to no dialogue, and could have been cut. That scene was only there to further support the fact the Adolf Hitler was an asshole.

Granted Mr Brundage paved the way for the American Olympic team and thus gave Jesse the opportunity to win his four gold medals, so his character did have a point but the storyline of the film felt disconnected. Like they were trying to fit way too many characters and too many different stories in an hour and 30 minutes.

However my favourite part of the film was the scenes with Leni Riefenstahl played by Carice van Houten, she was magnificent and kept my interest. I did further research on the real life Riefenstahl, she was a super interesting person; first trained as a dancer then became interested in film making and became famous for Nazi propaganda films then tried to go against the Nazi regime in her own way by filming all of the 1936 Olympics including Jewish and Black athletes, she lived out her life as a director and photographer until her death at the age of 101. Granted she was also a Nazi sympathizer and not the most intelligent person in the world but her character in this particular film was of some interest.

I spent the majority of the film anticipating the ending. The thing about watching a movie based on a true story is you already can anticipate the outcome even before seeing the movie, so it kind of ruins the ending for you. We already knew he shattered records and came home with 4 medals, but that wasn't the point the film was making. The filmmakers of this movie didn't have to put that much effort as the story is already written and unfortunately it really shows in the film that was presented.
In the end the film is worth a watch, but maybe just wait until it shows up on Netflix.


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