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Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper

india Updated: Nov 22, 2003 13:39 IST
Vinayak Chakravorty
Vinayak Chakravorty

There’s a whiff of the Oscars in the air. The Academy Awards may be a good three months away but the season to sit up and notice prospective trophy winners is here. Gary Ross’s Seabiscuit comes to the desi screens as the first serious contender at Oscars 2004.

Indeed, amid the high-adrenaline packed, fantasy-ridden past few weeks, when man fought his final battle with the machines and a clown fish set out on an adventurous trek to find his missing son, comes a true story narrated just the way Uncle Oscar loves it. That, in essence is the USP of Seabiscuit.

Which brings us to Tobey Maguire, star of the show. GenNow may have been introduced to Maguire as Spider Man, the comicbook superhero who webbed in zillions on the big screen, but there’s to more to Maguire than swashbuckling swinging up the wall.

A penchant he’s always revealed, through such offbeat pre-Spider-Man ventures as The Cider House Rules, The Ice Storm and Pleasantville (the last, incidentally, was directed by Seabiscuit director Gary Ross). With Seabiscuit, Maguire returns to his offbeat trek (maybe, this time he’s serious about giving it a shot at the Oscars too).

Maguire is Red Pollard, a half-blind jockey. Backed by a stoic trainer, Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) and a millionaire Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges), Pollard must win the Horse of the Year trophy riding Howard’s undersized horse, Seabiscuit.

The setting is Depression era United States and the year is 1938. Based on a true story, Ross’s narrative brings alive vividly the essence of the period (something that always goes down well with the Academy when it comes to THE awards). However, where Seabiscuit triumphs as a film is in Ross’s credible rendition of the emotional quotient in his lavishly mounted tale. This is good cinema, thoroughly enjoyable.

First Published: Nov 15, 2003 13:04 IST