Gary Ross's adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's swift-moving, sweeping best seller is serious, decorous, and not as thrilling as it might be.india Updated: Feb 24, 2004 16:09 IST
Gary Ross's adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's swift-moving, sweeping best seller is serious, decorous, and not as thrilling as it might be. The voiceover narration by David McCullough, and the Ken Burns-style archival stills give it an air of public television worthiness that undercuts the excitement of the racing sequences.
The story, of a runty, crooked-legged horse who became the biggest media celebrity in Depression-weary America, is impossible not to embrace, and Ross tells it with efficiency. The movie is successful — it gives you a sense of the times, and of the colorful human characters whose lives were entwined with Seabiscuit's — but it is also disappointing. The cast includes some of the finest actors working in movies today, but with the partial exception of Chris Cooper (as the horse's enigmatic, taciturn trainer), they are confined by the film's simplified storytelling.
Jeff Bridges, as Charles Howard, Seabiscuit's owner, and Tobey Maguire, who plays his principal jockey, the unlucky Red Pollard, are both thoroughbreds. If only Ross had eased up on the reins and let them run.