Cert: PG Runtime: 106 mins Director: Dexter Fletcher Cast: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Keith Allen, Jim Broadbent and Christopher Walken
I’ve been kicked off every team before I even got a chance to prove myself.
Taron Egerton is an actor on the up…oh wait he is making a biopic about a ski jumper? Why the hell would you make that? The story of Eddie The Eagle in Britain is always an up lifting tale. But for me personally Eddie Edwards seems like an idiot when he is on television. So what is Eddie The Eagle about? The year is 1988. The Winter Olympics is underway in Calgary and competing in the fearsome ski jump is sportsman Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards (Taron Egerton), the first British person ever to do so. With his glasses and lack of sporting finesse, Eddie is seemingly not cut out for the challenge but nevertheless showcases a determination to succeed. In fact, this irrepressible underdog spirit is set to transform him into the most unlikely of British sports stars.
Rags to riches is the most overdone theme in cinema yet audiences love it as comfort food for the soul. It works particularly well in ‘heart-warming’ and ‘feel-good’ sporting bio-pics based on the ‘hare and tortoise’ tale where the slow plodder eventually wins. Eddie the Eagle is the plodding tortoise whose obstacles include childhood disability, being gawky and born into a working family at the lower end of the snotty-nosed British class system. But his soul yearns for Olympia, not a medal or glory, just for the thrill of competing.Egerton’s performance is both the charm and weak point of the film. Gawky single-mindedness is endearing but when it’s the only persona on view feels like a mask that hides someone unknown. Jackman is always drinking or smoking while brooding over his failed ambitions and similarly deprives the role of nuance. But such quibbles are minor in the big picture. The camera-work and special effects are undoubtedly the highpoint of the film and the slow-motion freeze-frames in Eddie’s final jump are heart-stoppingly beautiful. Never has winning been less important and never has trying been so heroic.