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November 20, 2006

We Are Marshall - 6

This film will be released to theaters on December 22nd. My own tagline for the film is: Remember the Titans meets World Trade Center (The official tagline is the overdramatic: From the ashes we rose). Based on the true story of Marshall University's (in West Virginia) devastating plane crash that killed most of the football team in 1970, the film tells the story of the aftermath of rebuilding the team and the small steel town dealing with the trauma and loss of that event. Interestingly narrated by a surviving student who lost a fiancee- the first minutes of the film is one of the greatest voice-overs in film I have seen. The film then follows the story that gives meaning to this opening context. The trouble with the film is that it tries to buck the stereotype of films about sports and only half succeeds. It still is about winning, as the film ends when the team has finally given honor to the dead by winning, but there is some great dialogue about how grief and loss, make us look for things that matter beyond the winning and losing paradigm. While it does try to push the boundary and works as an interesting history lesson, the film as a whole ends up being a rather 'feel good' film, about the triumph of the human spirit- the freedom we create out of the context of trauma and grief. David Strathairn is good as the bureaucratic university president, and Matthew McConaughey is funny as the new head coach.

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