“I tell you what, you stick with me and I’ll make a great coach out of you” – Jesse Owens
Race is the lame title for the pretty good movie about the awesome athlete Jesse Owens. The movie starts when Jesse (Stephan James) leaves home in Cleveland to start college in Columbus. Here he meets coach Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis) and starts training for the 1936 Olympics, hosted by Nazi Germany with the aim to prove the superiority of the Arian race.
Stephan James delivers an outstanding performance, proving himself able to hold the attention in a charismatic and charming way. I was not sure about Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses, We’re the Millers), as we normally see him in the classical irreverent Hollywood comedies, he wasn’t so bad actually but I don’t think this performance was good enough to ensure a turning point in his career.
To be fair, the story of Jesse Owens is so good that it would have been hard not to make a good film out of it, it’s got the injustice, the natural talent of the poor kid, the Americans winning over Nazi Germany: all the themes we get angry and emotional about. It was nice though, that Jesse’s family was actually involved in the screenplay writing process to ensure the story was as close to the original as possible.
Fun fact: in the movie coach Snyder goes looking for the Dassler shoe factory to get Jesse shoes to race. The factory actually existed and the owner was Adi Dassler: the founder of Adidas, BOOM!
Race, directed by Stephen Hopkins; written by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse; music by Rachel Portman; cinematography by Peter Levy. Also starring Jeremy Irons, Carice van Houten and William Hurt.