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Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Cinema Review – Eddie the Eagle

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By John Campbell

You might as well never get out of bed in the morning if you can’t believe that every dog DOES have its day. The true story of Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards is inspiring because it reminds us that there is nothing quite so indomitable as the human spirit. Against all the odds and with only the passive support of his mother and the reluctant encouragement of a disgraced American skier, Eddie, a no-hoper who was told he’d never be an athlete, by sheer dent of willpower and perseverance turned himself into an Olympian. Superheroes are a dime a dozen these days, so his feat of reaching the ninety-metre ski-jump final at the 1988 Calgary Olympics might not be properly appreciated by a younger audience, but nothing should be taken away from it. There is a nagging moment late in the film, however, that director Dexter Fletcher might have been advised to delete. In archival footage of the closing ceremony of the Games, we see the real Eddie limelighting the moment in a look-at-me way that cheapens his achievement – if at the same time highlighting the now entrenched cult of celebrity. Fletcher follows all of the orthodoxies of the genre – we first meet Eddie as a kid in callipers and then endure one setback after another with him as he strives to achieve his impossible dream. To never give up is a theme that we can all warm to and when Eddie (Taron Egerton) teams up with Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), the once-was champion, the great tale of triumph and redemption goes into overdrive. The swelling music never lets up and George Richmond’s bright and breezy cinematography captures some terrific shots of what is involved in such extreme sport. Egerton, with jutting jaw, does all that’s expected of him but he is overshadowed by Jackman’s flawed blokiness – and they both have the rug pulled from under them by an ice-cold, self-loving cameo from Edvin Endre as the Finnish gold-medalist Matti Nykänen… Can’t wait for the movie about Steven Bradbury.  

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