We Are Marshall
I must be a real cold, heartless shell of a man
if I can hate on a movie about honoring dead athletes. I mean, I definitely
felt my heart sink at the thought of all those lost lives, but two hours
later I still knew what was going to happen and wanted it to happen more
quickly so I could get home.
Review: We Are Marshall
In 1970, the Marshall University football team lost
nearly all of its players, coaches and some fans in a plane crash. The remaining
students rally the town to continue the football program, so new coach Jake
Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey) comes in to start recruiting.
For a movie about death, dying and grief, the scenes of tragedy are handled
with class. They really could have milked it and they showed restraint in
cutting the crash, and focusing on the survivors when they approach the
wreckage. Throughout the film, the town's grief is obvious, but nobody wallows.
There is one scene that seems to exist only to show someone crying. Cheerleader
Annie Cantrell (Kate Mara) returns her engagement ring to her fiance's father
to keep it in his family, but he tells her to keep it because he has no
more family. And Matthew Fox breaks down after the triumphant ending, but
we'll give them those two. After all, it is really sad.
There's a good
sense of humor to most of the film. Lengyel is clearly in out of his depth
as he bombs a press conference and turns to other sports to find his new
There are plenty of montages, including recruitment, training and game time.
We Are Marshall
doesn't forget it's a sports movie and goes through all the motions in that
department. It's rousing where it needs to be, even if it is familiar.
The only point that gets saccharine is the final play, as if one pass summarizes
all the emotion we've just witnessed for two hours. That's really laying
it on thick, but it's just a stylistic choice and the story is the story.
We Are Marshall is perfectly good filmmaking. If, like
me, you feel you've seen one too many inspirational sports movies, you probably
won't get through it. Even with the triumphant ending, it's still a lot
of tragedy to get over in life, let alone in one evening.