“I’m forever in pursuit, and I don’t even know what it is I’m chasing.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Reviewers since then seem divided between resentment that such a “minor” film won the Oscar, and appreciation for it as a well-crafted period piece. I’m in the latter camp. While it took me a while to understand the film’s purpose and get into the rhythm of its pacing, I eventually became invested in its protagonists and their outcomes — primarily because both men are likable, immensely talented underdogs who deserve a chance at success. The supporting stories about the pressure Charleson feels from his disapproving sister (Cheryl Campbell):
… and the burgeoning romance between Cross and a beautiful actress (Alice Krige):
… help to more fully humanize them, as does the mentorship Cross receives from his coach, Sam Mussabini (Ian Holm):
… and the disapproval of said support expressed by two stuffy college masters (John Gielgud and Lindsay Anderson).
Meanwhile, the cinematography is beautiful; the running scenes are compellingly shot; Vangelis’s score is appropriately haunting (and not over-used); and special note should be made about Terry Rawlings’ expert editing, which cleverly uses cross-cutting to build tension and connection between the various stories. This one remains worth a one-time look.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)