Friday, 1 April 2016

Eddie the Eagle film review

Went to see this film with my family at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon over Easter.

IMDB says: The story of Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics.


In this Dexter Fletcher (Kick Ass, The Elephant Man) directed and Sean Macaulay (Hitchcock, Anvil: The Story of Anvil) and Simon Kelton (Echo Park, Jeff Lowe's Metanoia) written film, Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Testament of Youth) stars as Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards, the persistent sportsman who represented Great Britain at the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988, incidentally the same year as the Jamaican Bobsled Team, of 'Cool Runnings' fame.  Inspired by the real Michael 'Eddie' Edwards but with added alcoholic yet charismatic reluctant coach Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman: The Prestige, X-Men) who lacked discipline when he represented his country and disappointed his coach Warren Sharp (Christopher Walken: Catch Me If You Can, The Deer Hunter), this film relies heavily on the theme of the underdog and the knowing nods to the audience (not in a Deadpool way exactly, but it worked) yet does not feel too schmaltzy or deliberately feel-good.  It is uplifting and fun, which is just what we needed after watching BvS earlier in the week.

From a young age Eddie has always wanted to be an Olympian but he has had so many failures even his parents, Janette (Jo Hartley: This is England, Inbred) and Terry (Keith Allen: Trainspotting, Shallow Grave), give up on the dream when he is dropped from the skiing team by Dustin Target (Tim IcInnerny: Notting Hill, Severance) and Richmond the BOA Official (Mark Benton: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Career Girls).

Determined not to give up, he goes after the position of ski-jumper when he realises he doesn't have to be part of a team and that Great Britain does not have a representative in this sport.  Seeing this as his last chance, he heads off to follow his dream, but fellow ski-jumpers, including Norwegian Coach Bjørn the Norwegian Coach (Rune Temte: Mendel, Love Me Tomorrow), Eric Moberg (Mads Sjøgård Pettersen: North, Upperdog), Lars Holbin (Marc Benjamin: CRO - Unsere Zeit ist jetzt, Herngespinster) and his hero 'The Flying Finn' Matti Nykänen (Edvin Endre: The Hidden Child, Vikings) all consider him a joke and the rest of the British Team are no different.  Without even a proper place to sleep, a local café owner (Petra, Iris Berben: Rosa Roth, Miss Sixty) takes pity on him and lets him sleep there, he looks set for failure once more but things start to improve once he enlists the help of Peary.

For me, Egerton really proved his acting chops once more, gone was the street-smart lad turned suave agent from Kingsman and here was a convincing goofball practically unrecognisable as the same person.  Jackman was also spot on as the jaded coach, but Egerton was the heart of the film and heart it had, in spades.

The score was also a big part of the film, relying heavily on 80s classics (yes, Jump is in there) and it ticked all the boxes for the gamut of emotions, laughter, crying and hold your breath moments - kudos to the director for the jump scenes where you see the scale of it from Eddie's perspective, it really brings home to you how brave, or stupid depending upon your point of view, he was to keep going.  He truly did embody the Olympic spirit.


It has been reported that getting to the Olympics and representing his country felt like winning a gold medal to the real Eddie and although he came last he set a new British record at the Calgary Games, yet after the Calgary Olympics, the International Olympic Committee toughened the qualifications rule (known as the Eddie The Eagle Rule) to deter other plucky losers from following his example.  It does not alter the fact that no matter how many bones he broke, he got there in the end.

Still of Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton in Eddie the Eagle (2016)

Tagline: Win or lose, always aim high.                                                              8/10

Trivia: Egerton was in awe of Jackman's physique during the film, commenting Hugh 'Has got guns to die for.  Have you seen the size of his arms?  They are bigger than my head.'  Nils Vettori, son of 1992 Olympic ski jumping champion Ernst Vettori, appears as an extra in the movie. He plays a ski jumper in the outrun of the hill. Steve Coogan and Rupert Grint were linked to the role of Eddie the Eagle.

Still of Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton in Eddie the Eagle (2016)

And for those of you that want to see how spot-on Egerton got with Eddie's looks and character, here is a picture of the man himself:

Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics

#EddieTheEagle  #TaronEgerton  #HughJackman

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