Thursday, February 25, 2016

My Review of the Jessie Owens Biopic Film, RACE.

Los Angeles, CA--Last night I attended a screening of RACE at the Director's Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.  I was waiting and waiting to see my personal favorite actress, Carice van Houten playing Adolf Hitler's cinematographer, Leni Riefenstahl.    

Riefenstahl was more than a filmmaker, she was an amazing artist that invented film equipment like jibes and cranes that are still in use today. 

RACE was about the Berlin 1936 Olympic star athlete, Jessie Owens wonderfully played by a fine young actor, Stephan James.  

The script by Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel was a historically correct, spellbinding masterpiece.  

Actor, Jason Sudeikis rocked as Owen's coach, Larry Snyder.  The issues of racial differences and bigotry were overcome here by a simple conspiracy to make Owens the fastest man alive. 

In 1936 while World War Two was still unthinkable the Nazis were rounding up and deporting Jews.  That atrocity and others were not lost in this offering. 

The treatment of Jews by the Nazis was no small issue to the Olympic Committee.  There were serious questions of a USA boycott of the Berlin games. Avery Brundage played by Jeremy Irons and Jeremiah Mahoney played William Hurt proved well up to those important portrayals. 

Owens' personal life was expertly fleshed out through the terrific performance of Shanice Banton  as Ruth Solomon.  

My favorite actress, Carice van Houten thrilled me with an authentic German accent. This talented Dutch thespian has got a natural gift for languages as she effortlessly delivered her lines in both German an English.

The writers gave van Houten a special challenge to "selectively" translate some angry exchanges between Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, played by Barnaby Metschurat and Avary Brundage (Irons).

I love van Houten's special gift for facial expressions with her gorgeous big eyes subtly rolling.  You need never guess what she's thinking!  She grew up watching silent films and obviously learned that from the likes of Laurel & Hardy and Charlie Chaplin. 

Riefenstahl was not a Nazi but a opportunistic filmmaker using well  the envious and unlimited budget to showcase the Olympics.  She wouldn't even let Hitler dictate how to make this historic sports ducumentary. 

I'd love to see these writers and this director, Stephen Hopkins roll further with van Houten staring once again but this time in a second biopic of this amazing filmmaker. 

This is a must see film.  There are those people with preconceived political or racial notions that will expect a political spin.  There is no spin!  This is a showcase of determination to transcend hate, ugliness and politics through a sports competition to simply win the gold.  This film wins the gold! 

The trailer: 

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