I wasn’t feeling overly enthusiastic for this 2016 biopic Eddie the Eagle as I entered the cinema. Underdog comes good yada yada yada. I’ve seen it all before. I watched it live. I know what’s going to happen.
Directed by Dexter Fletcher, whose an English actor of Band of Brothers and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels fame. He’s known by most Gen X-ers as the American kid from The Press Gang. He’s more actor than director looking at his experience and this is only his 3rd outing in the movie world.
I’m not a cynic by nature which is arguably a bad thing if you are going to watch a movie like this but I did choose a seat away from others and dimmed my phone in anticipation of mid-movie boredom.
But Boy was I wrong. This movie was an absolute cracker. A real peach.
It was thoroughly British, by jove, absolutely charming and remarkably refreshing. Like a good old cuppa.
Eddie could have stuck two fingers up to the toffs of the British Olympic committee if he was that way inclined. But he wasn’t. He is a gentle soul. A boy from a working class family who knows nothing but hard work and commitment. He is a trooper, and he has a dream. And nothing and no-one is going to stand in his way.
Notoriously tenacious. He refused to give up. He didn’t take no for an answer.
Despite all the knock backs and harassment. Most of his peers saw him as a laughing stock. But Eddie, at just 22 years old, didn’t care what anyone else thought. He had one goal.
Welsh-born Taron Egerton as Eddie nailed it. He carried the film from start to finish. I can’t rate him highly enough. He is on the shortlist for the EE Rising Star award and I hope he wins it.
Hugh Jackman co-stars as his alcoholic coach, and I feel the storyline around him and Christopher Walken as Warren Sharp is the only downside in an otherwise truly uplifting and inspiring story. This arc was made up, and it shows. I understand the need to spice up a movie. To have story lines that embellish and connect characters. It could have been done better.
Keith Allen brings a restrained gentleness to his usual brand of menacing as Eddie’s dad, an old school plasterer. They roll out the usual suspects when posh sounding commentators and members of the English elite are required in Jim Broadbent, Tim McInnerney and Mark Brenton.
The direction was great. Fletcher did well in only his 3rd gig. You felt like you were flying with Eddie as he raced down the ski jump. Soaring through the air like a drunken arrow.
Egerton is a relative newcomer. You may have seen him in Kingsman or Legend. If his future character acting is as nuanced as this one then watch out for this guy. He is something special.
He had his audience in the palm of his ski gloved hand from the second you met him. I can’t believe I’m saying it, as I usually wouldn’t. But this I would see a second time.
Take your kids and prepare to tear up.
The Eagle has landed.