Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson)

Running, running, and more running.

Film Review Archive (date seen: December 18, 2010)

Granted, the opening sequence of barefoot, white-clad men running on the shores with that immortal Vangelis musical score (a piece that has since been the companion music of the Olympics) is a great "spirit-soaring" image, but after that, only a few parts of the film really did caught my interest.

I have nothing against "Chariots of Fire's" slow pace, I even generally prefer it more. But its build-up of an uninvolving story of two runners on different sides of the religious spectrum and competing for different principles is too redundant for a 2-hour film, let alone to carry the whole picture into a Best Picture Oscar. Furthermore, the opening scene that showed some of the athletes as old men then quickly dissolving into a flashback is a tiring cliche commonly seen on award-chasing films (usually with the award-giving body letting itself be chased and caught. Ha.).

"Chariots of Fire", again with its opening sequence, promised a great story of determination and to make competitive running as a symbolism of overcoming obstacles. But what it has done, having all the time in the world, was to turn that tale of men with a passion for sprinting into a film a lot slower than a leisurely walk in the park. And considering the intensive sport focused throughout the film, it lacks the narrative urgency to perform a compelling run for a memorable finish. Derek Redmond's tear-inducing Olympian effort affected me more.


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