“Race” is a clichéd but enjoyable story

Timothy Page, Movie Critic

Jesse Owens likes to run. In fact, that seems to be the only thing that has kept him sane. In the 1930’s, race relations were awful and the world was still recovering from WWI. Jesse gets a scholarship to Ohio State University for running. He goes hoping to make a better life for himself and his family, and he might just compete in the Olympics along the way.

Now I’m a sucker for a good sports movie and all the stuff you’ve come to expect is here. His struggle, his down-and-out moment, and eventually his victory. All throughout the threat of WWII is on the horizon, and the tension of the Nazi’s running the Olympics is present. It adds some interesting conflict to the story, but some of it I felt wasn’t needed and it made the movie feel pretty long at times.

The big positive about this film is the acting. Stephan James plays Owens here and he does a great job capturing Jesse’s insecurities and fears. You care about Jesse the entire time and James’ performance is the reason. The other actor that surprised me was Jason Sudeikis, who is usually a comedic actor, but he pulls the dramatic roll off very well.

In terms of negatives, there are a few. The film feels really long, and I feel like some of the side stories, which feel necessary, weren’t needed. There’s a whole subplot about the man in charge of the US Olympic Committee and what he’s had to do to get the US in the games that year. It just didn’t seem to fit and made the movie drag a bit. It also took a bit getting off the ground. The Olympics is really the end of the second act and into the third, but it took a while getting there and, again, it just felt long.

‘Race’ is a well-made bio-pic and, even if it feels a bit long, I still had a good time with this movie. The story was interesting, the acting was very well done, and it all boils down to a very feel good movie about Jesse Owens.

Nothing new, but something familiar.

Rating 3/5: Nothing new done here, but good acting and interesting story keep the dragging pace from bringing the movie down.

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