director: Dexter Fletcher
writers: Sean Macaulay & Simon Kelton
starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Tom Costello and Jo Hartley
genre: Biopic | Sports
release dates: 26 February 2016 (USA), 31 March 2016 (Germany &Greece), 21 April 2016 (Australia)
Sometimes it's best not to know the final outcome of a true story, even though you kind of know where it's going. And it is sometimes fine for the film not to follow the true story to the last detail, but at least to follow it by heart. Especially when it can get its message across of an overachiever accomplishing his goals and its interpretation of events and simulation of sports activities to be both heart warming and exhilarating.
The dream of a young English boy was to be Olympic Athlete first and a champion second. Ridiculed all his life, Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton) finally pushed hard with his attempts to become a Olympic Ski Jumper and proved his competitors, father and the Olympic Community wrong.
By his side to show him the ropes, is former American ski jumper Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman). Who will see something in Eddie worth fighting for and an opportunity to show to his own naysayers that he isn't the failure they once knew.
For some odd reason, even though I knew this film to be your typical feel good story and sports film, I had the urge to go and see it. One good reason was the talent involved, from the ever great Hugh Jackman and the spectacular young talent that is Taron Egerton. Who both do a great job at being striking characters in their own right and find a bond in the film that is both believable and honest, while also content with the individuals they turned out to be. An clumsy misfit who never gave up and a drunk showoff that could finally write off his past for a new beginning.
However, cast and performances aren't the only good things that set this film apart from the rest of the movies out this week. Another great factor is that the film is your quintessential nostalgia film that is not consciously sold to you as that. Every adult out there is pretty much a kid/teenager of the 80's and the amount of skiing, music and marketing this film has, such as the poster font screams 80's and Hollywood has been for the last decade cramming 80's nostalgia down our throats quite successfully (Ghostbusters, Transformers). And to be honest 'Eddie the Eagle' is a great 80's film. It travels you back in time without being too much in your face about it and I really felt grooved by its soundtrack, references and production. It really made me feel that we were in that decade and its not a small accomplishment. As they are many films that try to capture another era and time and you wouldn't even know it if it didn't inform you of it.
Furthermore, it is easier to make an adrenaline filled and kinetic racing film (Days of Thunder) or American football film (Any Given Sunday), than any other kind of sport such as ski jumping. As it is just one guy or girl jumping in a similar fashion every time and that's it. Also its a sport that can injure or kill you easier than any other modern sport today. So finding ways to make this winter sport again and again to be enjoyable was a great accomplishment on the production's side from a stunts, editing and finally direction point of view. With CGI shots being scarce in the film and used only when need be, while also providing us the audience to feel as a participant in the speed and brunt force felt by these athletes during every jump.
Which leads me to the film's comedic light tone that works better, than it having been a serious sports drama. As it is kind of humorous in a sinister way that a human being would choose to risk his neck to just be apart of Olympic team, in what is a sport that few would ever want to compete in. Also a sport that for anyone that would rationally want to take it up successfully, would have to start training as the film suggests from the age of 6 or 7. So seeing Eddie go from height to height in his jumps you really are dealing with a madman full of courage and this creates moments of superb comedy, but also suspense in the frightening and death defying experience that these athletes choose to partake in.
Additionally, while not everything in the film is accurate to the real life events, the main part of the story that is Eddie getting on the Olympic team, the way he was treated as a joke and his character and antics are all properly told. And during the film there is one part where it is really too good to be true to accept. With the event of a German bar owner allowing young Eddie to just causally stay at her bar because he had no money to afford a hotel for his training. But then after the film and seeing an old TV interview of Eddie the Eagle where he mentions that he actually stayed in a mental hospital during his training in Norway, because he couldn't afford a hotel. Was enough for me to let certain things slide. As if this detail was in the film, maybe I would have said the same exact thing and not accept it also as fact when actually was.
However, one minor but serious gripe that I have with the film is this. The quote at the end of the film by the founder of the Olympic games. Which to set the record straight, he wasn't the founder of the Olympic games. He was the founder of the Modern Olympic games. Minute detail for some, but an important one nonetheless.
Seeing a man jump to his possible death is tense, inspiring and funnier than you would imagine. The character of Eddie Edwards is almost identical to the man in real life and the supporting cast work greatly to bring to life the story of an individual no one believed in but than came to love and support. Something we should all see some value in and cheer along the efforts of those that never give up and that find glory in different ways other than our own.