Movie review: Eddie The Eagle

Movie reviews, Sports

Hello, my dear readers!

How have you been? What movies have you been watching lately? I just went to see the new British film – Eddie The Eagle – and I want to tell you all about it!

IMDb summary: The story of Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

British cinema, Sport, and Me

I have told you numerous times that I am a fan of contemporary British films. I really liked these movies even before I moved to the UK, but now, being a citizen of Britain, I love them even more. In addition, Eddie The Eagle is a sports drama (actually, more like a sports comedy), inspired by true events and it is also a story of an underdog athlete. If you have been reading my blog, you might know that I am a swimmer (or I used to be) and  I also run and cycle competitively. So, being an athlete myself, I had a personal connection with this film. In addition, like Eddie, I have never been that good when it comes to sport – I have always dreamed of being an Olympian, but I was never even good enough to become a national champion, let alone international one. Moreover, I, sadly, was (and still am) a realist (just a nice way of saying that I was/am a pessimist), so I never managed to achieve my dreams. Nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing Eddie achieve his on screen and I definitely lost myself in the film.

Moreover, I not only enjoyed this film because I am an athlete myself, but because I love sports in general: I always watch the Olympics , both the Summer and Winter ones, in their entirety, even if I don’t know the rules of the game or have never tried that particular sport. For example, I have never even skied properly, and I loved learning more about all skiing sports through this film (UP, BACK, FORWARD, DOWN). So, it is enough to be an avid viewer of sport, to enjoy this picture.

Writing, Story, and Themes

Eddie The Eagle’s script was written by Simon Kelton and Sean Macaulay, based on a life of the real Eddie Edwards. I am not familiar with Kelton’s and Macaulay’s previous work, but I loved what they did with this story. I really enjoyed the fact that this movie was very inspiring, hopeful and bright: it showed the power of dreams and the true spirit of sport. I also loved the incorporation of the ideas like ‘the struggle is more important than triumph’ and ‘it is more important to participate than to win’. In addition, the thought that ‘if you gave your best and if you tried your hardest, the result does not really matter’ is very dear and near to my heart, because my dad would alway say this to me before every swim or run. Moreover, the way the film portrayed hard work and passion/spirit for sport as equally important was amazing. The idea that sometimes one moment is all you need was sweet as well. Eddie was loved by the crowds and yet he still he proved that he was more than just a ‘side-show’ or a novelty act. He was a true Olympian. Besides, first and last places are closer than you think.

I also enjoyed that the film did not shy away from the problems of the professional sports. The lack of support from one’s country (or, at least, from the committee full of bureaucrats in ‘suits’ that don’t really get the spirit of sport) and the financial side of this issue were both present in the film. The formalities that surround sports also played a very important part in the film and in the real-life story of Eddie: he was able to find a very lucky loophole in the official rules and make his dream come true.

The theme of unsupporting family (or, at least, half of it) was also explored – that arc had a very nice ending with the reveal of the sweater. I also liked that the film mentioned the dangers of sport – it is very important not to forget that people, who are professional athletes, are seriously damaging and sacrificing their health most of the time.

A few other favorite moments of mine were the conversation with the old coach, the milk toast at the end, the interaction with ‘the Flying Finn’ and the inclusion of the symbolic lunch box for medals a.k.a. broken glasses. The only part of the film that I had a problem with was the portrayal of other athletes as bitch-y – in my experience, that is not true. Athletes tend to be really friendly outside the ring/court/pool/mountain (you get the idea), so I liked that the film, at least, showed them helping Eddie, when he fell after his first 70m jump.

In short, the film’s narrative was a bit cliche and predictable, but it was way too pleasant, enjoyable, and sweet fo me me to complain about the cliches.

Directing

Eddie The Eagle was directed by Dexter Fletcher and this picture was only his third time behind the camera. However, being such an experienced actor, I think he did a relly nice job with the project. Fun fact, Fletcher was actually in my home country (Lithuania) for the premiere of this film, because he is married to Lithuanian film and theatre director Dalia IbelhauptaitÄ—. When I finally moved abroad, interesting filmmakers actually started visiting Lithuania. What a chance of that.

I haven’t seen the 2 other films that Fletcher has directed but, as I have said, I did enjoy the things that he did with Eddie The Eagle. The pacing could have been neater, but it was not that bad, so as to take the viewers out of the film. The montages (the childhood one and the training one) were both nice and entertaining. The actual jumping scenes were also filmed from all angles, so the viewer could experience them both from the jumper’s perspective and from the bystanders perspective. The slow motion culmination of the 90m jump was a bit cheesy, though.  Lastly, the real life photos during the credits tied the film back to reality in a nice way, like with The Finest Hours.

Soundtrack 

The songs used in the film were very appropriate thanks to Matthew Margeson. I especially liked the ironic yet sweet placement and usage of Van Halen’s Jump and Hall & Oates’s You Make My Dreams Come True.

Acting

The movie’s titular character was played by Taron Egerton. I first found out about him through Kingsman (that film was the biggest cinematic surprise of 2014 for me). Egerton was also in a few other UK films – Legend and Testament of Youth. In Eddie The Eagle, Egerton once again proved what an amazing actor he is. His performance was just awkward and childish enough to still make the character believable. I can’t wait for his next film Billionaire Boys Club and then the sequel to Kingsman.

Hugh Jackman played the former disgraced athlete and the eventual coach for Eddie. He did a wonderful job as usual and had really good chemistry with Egerton. Jackman has had a long career full of both great films (X-Men, Les Miserables) and not so great ones (Chappie and Pan…and, of course, that X-Men Origins movie that everybody would like to forget). I am really interested to see what will he Jackman do next, especially after he finishes playing the Wolverine.

Other supporting character were played by Christopher Walken, Iris Berben, Mark BentonKeith Allen, Jo Hartley, Tim McInnerny, Edvin Endre, Marc Benjamin, and Jim Broadbent. Al of the did a good job with their limited screen time.

Reccomendations

If you enjoy watching movies about sports, may I suggest you chech out a few of my favorites like Million Dollar Arm, Race, McFarland USA, The Blind Side, and Draft Day.

In conclusion, Eddie The Eagle was a really cute, simple and charming film, that showed the beauty of sport and the love and passion for it. All athletes are mad to some extent (and that’s okay) and Eddie’s story was a perfect example of that. All elements of the picture – the story, the visuals, and the sound – were crafted nicely, while the combination of them resulted in a very pleasant film that I highly suggest you all watch.

Rate: 4.5/5

Trailer: Eddie The Eagle trailer

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Movie review: Triple 9

Movie reviews

Hello!

Greetings!! Today, we are talking about and analyzing the 2nd film, starring Casey Affleck, that I have watched this past weekend – Triple 9!

IMDb summary: A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.

Reasons/Preview

Triple 9 is a type of film that I would usually skip as I am not the biggest fan of crime dramas/heist movies. However, I have seen quite a few of them, as my dad is a fan of this genre and we would usually go to the movies together. He would patiently sit through my superhero films and, in return, I would watch a crime/action film that he had picked.

Now, I don’t live with my parents anymore, but as the saying goes, old habits die hard, because I went to see Triple 9 by myself. I think the main thing that attracted me to this film was its cast – a lot of accomplished actors play a variety of roles in the movie, as the trailer advertises. I was quite intrigued by this because Hollywood usually doesn’t cast famous actors in the roles of disposable villains, so I knew that the movie wouldn’t be completely black and white.

!SPOILERS!

Writing

The script for 999 was written by Matt Cook. I am not familiar with his previous work but I quite liked the story that he has come up with for this film. As I have mentioned, I liked that the villains of the movie – the robbers – weren’t just simple robbers, but either corrupt policeman with war past or individuals who had family ties with the criminal world and, thus, weren’t able to escape it. I also appreciated the fact that the film questioned the role of a policeman. Is being a cop really just a 9 to 5 job or something more? In addition, the twists and turns as well as all the backstabbing and the double-crossing worked well in a feature like this and wasn’t that predictable. Although, I did foresee which cop will get shot in that warehouse scene.

Lastly, while the ‘good’ policeman and the ‘bad’ policeman were at the center of this film, 999 also had a clearer antagonist – the Russian Jewish Mafia. I don’t know how this combination of nationalities made sense, but it kinda did if one bases his/hers thoughts on racial stereotypes. And, as we all know, Hollywood knows only stereotypes when it comes to creating roles of non-American characters.

Directing

Triple 9 was directed by John Hillcoat and this picture was the first movie of his that I have seen. And I got to say – he impressed my quite a bit. I thought that the movie had good pacing and the action never really stopped but was divided equally between all the acts of the film. I also enjoyed the fact that a lot of the film’s scenes were shot in the dark, as that fit the theme of the criminal underworld perfectly. The movie was also suspenseful and intense. The great example of this was the sequence were the team of cops was pursuing and chasing that Mexican/Latin American criminal in his house and later continued the chase through the whole neighborhood.

Acting

  • Casey Affleck as Chris Allen. Affleck’s role in this film reminded me of his other role in a film Gone Baby Gone (directed by the other Affleck brother). His by-the-books cop role in 999 and the role of the private investigator in Gone Baby Gone had a few similarities. I also quite liked Affleck’s Chris’s and Anthony Mackie’s character’s work-friendship or, at least, a facade of it (very Training Day like). As an actor, Affleck is leaving bigger and bigger impression on me with every movie that I see him in. Yesterday, I have reviewed a different motion picture of his – The Finest Hours – which I saw the same day as 999.
  • Woody Harrelson as Sergeant Detective Jeffrey Allen. Harrelson’s performance in this film also reminded me of a previous role of his in the TV show True Detective. I have only seen a couple of episode of the season 1 of that series, though, so I need to finish it. We will see Woody Harrelson in 5 other films this year, including Now You See Me sequel. In 2017, he will also star in the third installment of the Planet of the Apes reboot series.
  • Anthony Mackie as Marcus Atwood. I am only familiar with Mackie because he plays Falcon in the MCU films. I still need to watch The Hurt Locker for which Mackie received quite a few nominations from a variety of festivals and other institutions. He was really good in 999 as well, especially in the action scenes.
  • Norman Reedus as Russel Welch. The Walking Dead’s star played the criminal who ended up backstabbing not only the police but his robbery teammates. He portrayed the character realistically and did a nice job. I can’t really say anything else, since I don’t watch The Walking Dead. I know, don’t kill me.
  • Aaron Paul as Gabe Welch. I feel like I have seen Aaron in this role of a drug junkie before. Maybe in Breaking Bad but also in A Long Way Down and even in Need for Speed to some extent. Next, we will see Aaron in the action comedy Central Intelligence alongside Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Michael Belmont. I first found out about Ejiofor because of the film 12 Years a Slave. He was also in a more recent awards’ nominee –  The Martian. Ejiofor was amazing in 999, as one would expect, and I don’t think that he treated this project as just  a simple paycheck gig. Later on this year, we will see Chiwetel in Doctor Strange.
  • Kate Winslet as Irina Vlaslov. Winslet’s Irina was the only character that I had a few problems with. For one, her outfit was a bit too cartoonish – both the red shoes and that chunky gold necklace were just too much. Her accent was also kinda wonky and would disappear at times. Speaking about Winslet’s other projects, I do hope that she gets an Oscar for her role in Steve Jobs. I also want to check out The Dressmaker  – a smaller Australian film that she starred in last year.
  • Gal Gadot as Elena. I still don’t know how Gal Gadot got the role of the Wonder Woman. Don’t get me wrong – I am happy for her and excited about that film, but how did she manage to acquire that role is beyond me. I don’t think that I saw a single film of hers in which she didn’t play an overly sexualized character.

In short, Triple 9 was definetely not a bad film. It had an interesting story which explored the connections between the criminal underworld and the world of the law enforcement. It had exciting action, which was dispersed throughout the whole film, and really nice performances from an extensive cast of accomplished actors.

Rate: 3.65/5

Trailer: Triple 9 trailer 

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