Race | Chicago Reader
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Race

Closely patterned on Brian Helgeland’s 42 (2013), which told the story of baseball great and racial pioneer Jackie Robinson, this biopic of Olympic legend Jesse Owens recounts his triumphs at the 1936 Berlin games, held with Hitler in the stands. The politics of this are pitched at high-school level, and the relationship between Owens (Stephan James) and his coach (Jason Sudeikis, overacting wildly) can only approximate the biracial feeling between Robinson and team owner Branch Rickey in the earlier movie. Fortunately screenwriters Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse have added some other absorbing stories: Leni Riefenstahl’s interactions with Joseph Goebbels as she shoots her commanding documentary Olympiad and the ongoing efforts of U.S. businessman Avery Brundage (Jeremy Irons, excellent) to bring the American team to Berlin amid public controversy over Nazism. As a historical picture this has sweep—literally, in a rotating shot that communicates the immensity of the Olympic Stadium—but that only makes the blandness of the dialogue more evident. Stephen Hopkins directed; with Shanice Banton and Carice van Houten.

Credits

Director:

  • Stephen Hopkins

Cast:

  • Stephan James
  • Jason Sudeikis
  • Jeremy Irons
  • Carice van Houten
  • William Hurt
  • Shanice Banton

Producers:

  • Jean-Charles Levy
  • Luc Dayan
  • Louis-Philippe Rochon
  • Dominique Séguin
  • Stephen Hopkins
  • Kate Garwood
  • Karsten Brünig
  • Nicolas Manuel
  • Patrick Teng
  • Paul Teng
  • Jonathan Bronfman
  • David Garrett
  • Al Munteanu
  • Mark Slone
  • Thierry Potok

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