Worth The 42 Dollars Apr 27, 2013

 

3 1/2 stars out of 4 

PG, 127 minutes

Starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford

Still Playing

My two stepbrothers love baseball. They could watch it all day. The three of us are all Jays fans, and we regularly attend home opening at Sky Dome – but my brothers are a little more obsessed with the game than me. I'll be honest; before seeing the trailer, I had no idea who Jackie Robinson was. But I decided that I should avoid research ahead of time. At the end of the day, as a critic, I'm not looking for how accurate a movie is. I want to know whether or not it’s any good – and then pass my opinion on to you.

So imagine my surprise at how much I enjoyed this movie. My philosophy of knowing less walking into the cinema holds true. I was captivated at the story of this man who endured such awful prejudice and injustice – and how he fought the only battle he needed to. The story of Jackie Robinson is a powerful one – carried by two stellar performances from the leads as Jackie and Branch Rickey – the owner of the teams. (I wouldn't have pegged an 80-year-old Indiana Jones as a good baseball biopic star – but I love being proven wrong!). The movie succeeds not just as a biography movie – but as a sports film, a drama, and wholly entertaining movie. The film is captivating, bold, and an excellent motion picture.

In the spring of 1945, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball club Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) decides to draft a negro into white baseball. Naturally, everyone who works for him thinks he's crazy. But Rickey selects Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman), a hot-tempered talent from Kansas City to pioneer the lines of the sport. As a personal coach, Jackie is supported by his wife, Rickey, his general manager, and a reporter from New York, who as a coloured man, has a few things to prove on his own. He'll spend a few years fighting, but Jackie soon gets his chance not just o prove himself on the field, but prove to baseball and America things aren't always black or white.

Now, the movie isn't perfect. It's got too short a climax, and it's hard differentiating some of the characters. Some scenes feel a little cheesy, and some audience members may find the movie too old fashioned. But these negatives are so subtle you'll be entranced by the sardonic wit, tight editing, and great acting this whole cast has to offer. Director Brian Helgeland has been away from the silver screen for about a decade, but his work here is masterful. The direction, tones, and range of entertainment across the board makes the movie works as so many genres, all without feeling clunky.

I think 42 has been the best movie so far of 2013. Funny enough, I recommend going to see this on a weekend night, when the theatre will be good and busy. Back in November, I wrote how the worst part of seeing the last Twilight flick was the annoying, giggling audience who were spoiling the movie. Last night at the movies, the cinema was jammed of fans in ball caps, laughing, enjoying, and even applauding during the movie together. It was nostalgic. Like I said, I'm no baseball fan. But last night, I sure felt like one. And that spirit of inclusion – no matter what colour you are – is what this great movie is all about.

By: Tyler Colins

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