Not much publicity has gone into this film at least here in India. Titled “Race”, the film is a take on the legendary athlete Jesse Owens and his domination and exploits at the controversial 1936 Berlin Olympics winning a record four gold medals on the way.
I would say Race is a motivational and inspirational film that deals with multiple themes bringing into picture the racial prejudice prevalent in those times against the Black Americans in US of America. Also when it comes to the Olympics, we get to know about Hitler’s hatred for the Jewish athletes and some controversial agreement before the game.
Race is not a complete biography meaning we don’t get to know in depth about Jesse Owen’s life. It primarily focus on a particular phase of the legendary athlete’s life where he dreams and work hard with the Ohio State coach Larry Snyder to make a big mark as a sportsman creating history in the process.
Also, we could see a confused Owens who is not sure whether to participate in the Olympics representing his country where racial turmoil was at its peak during those times. We also get to see a deep bonding shared between Owens and his coach Larry. Then we have a special act by German athlete Carl Luz helping out Owens at a critical juncture during the broad jump (later called long jump) competition.
These are some of the finer moments that makes a better impact apart from the neatly choreographed and pictured races that makes Race a decent drama sans any thrilling moments. Still the film holds together and doesn’t fall apart and makes a good watch inspite of the absence of any thrills and chills of actual race.
Nothing is shown about what happens after the exploits of the Berlin Olympics. Of course we are shown pictures of the original Jesse Owens with brief write ups on what happened to various parties involved or those associated with the game.
Stephan James fits into the role of Jesse Owens in terms of appearance as well as the way in which he has portrayed the legendary athlete. Jason Sudeikis is another actor who came out triumphant. Playing the role of Lary Snyder, coach to Owens he was able to convey what was required for the character. The duo’s combination scenes are a major highlight of Race.
Overall, Race is a pretty decent make with some finer moments giving icing on the cake to lift the film to cross the finish line with success. I am going with three and a half out of five recommending the movie to people who loves biographical dramas.
Rating – 3.5 / 5
Reviewed by Chandra mohan gopinath