Home Movie Reviews ‘The Boys in the Boat’ – Review
‘The Boys in the Boat’ – Review

‘The Boys in the Boat’ – Review


Hollywood A-lister George Clooney once again steps behind the camera to spin his own kind of magic with a film of underdog courage and the pursuit of victory with the true story of The Boys in the Boat, and the result is an energetic and heart-thumping experience for audiences.

Taking audiences back to the downtrodden days that followed the Great Depression, The Boys in the Boat is about the 1936 University of Washington rowing team that competed for gold at the Summer Olympics in Berlin. This inspirational true story follows a group of underdogs at the height of the Great Depression as they are thrust into the spotlight and take on elite rivals from around the world.

Based on the true story of the University of Washington 1938 mens rowing-8, the Washington Huskies, and adapted from the best-selling book by Daniel James Brown, The Boys in the Boat is a riveting and drama-filled tale of courage, persistence and the will-to-win, and celebrated A-lister George Clooney brings a giant level of passion and enthusiasm that passes over to audiences. Clooney approach to this grand story of collegiate athletics and the glory of the Olympic Games is to frame it around a story of the competitive spirit, and at every moment, you feel the burning need of this downtrodden yet spritely crew and the nation they represent clawing their way back to the glory through discipline and hustle. Sports movies have a unique way of capturing the enthusiasm of audiences, and this is exactly what Clooney brings to his narrative.

The Boys in the Boat is told from the perspective of Washington rower Joe Rantz, a down-on-his-luck university student who is caught up in the aftermath of the Great Depression and is looking for any possible way to get ahead. Stepping into Rantz’s spot is Callum Turner, and the young British actor channels a true All-American quality that adds to the flavour of the story. Rantz’s true life made for the ultimate underdog story, and he overcame immense odds on his path to glory. Turner balances Rantz’s All-American quality with a deeply felt level of emotional drama and baggage from his awful upbringing. As you watch him rise like a Phoenix, you cannot help but dutifully admire this incredible man and his unbreakable spirit.

Stepping into the position of coach and mentor is Joel Edgerton as Al Ulbrickson, the rowing coach of the Huskies, and it’s a totally different performance from Edgerton than we’ve seen before. Edgerton steps into the role of Ulbrickson and brings a forceful, tough-as-nails presence to the character. He understands the odds that his crew are up against and won’t accept anything less than absolute commitment. But Edgerton isn’t just a strict disciplinarian as Ulbrickson; he builds an incredible level of belief in his young crew that sees them pull together and, through his ability to steer their talent and ambition, sees them taking to the greatest level of sporting heights imaginable.

Through Clooney’s talent for direction, the incredible detail of the film’s ambience and setting, and a roaringly exciting story of a group of underdogs going for gold, The Boys in the Boat makes for an extremely energetic watch. In watching this era, you feel like you’ve entered the era of the mid-1930s of collegiate sport, and no detail is missed in bringing to life the setting of this picture. This also extends to the film’s third act and the recreation of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, which coincided with Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. This early battle of democracy vs fascism takes place on the lake, and the film’s luminous rowing ‘battle’ will spike your adrenaline as the Washington huskies put it all on the line for glory.

George Clooney again strikes gold with a compelling true story of a group of underdogs who put it all on the line and came out on top in The Boys in the Boat. It makes for a heart-moving and passionate tale that audiences will adore this Christmas.

Image: Warner Brothers Pictures