Corporate Line: This is the true story of a former bicycle repairman, Charles Howard (Bridges), who made his fortune introducing the automobile to the American West, and who owned a small, knobbly-kneed horse called Seabiscuit. Howard teamed up with a half-blind ex-boxing prize fighter, Red Pollard (Maguire), who became the horse’s jockey and a former “mustang breaker” Wild West performer called “The Lone Plainsman”, Tom Smith (Cooper), who became the horse’s trainer. As the United States struggled through the Great Depression, people around the country followed with rapt interest of the Seabiscuit story, leading to his win of the Horse of the Year honors in 1938.
The Good: Stories about inspirational characters aren’t always given a chance to come across in a way that would inspire you. Seabiscuit takes a little to get going it gallops away and doesn’t stop until the finish.
It’s the actors that carry what would be an ordinary film otherwise. Chris Cooper and Jeff Bridges steal the show. Tobey Maguire is admirable in his position as Red Pollard.
The racing scenes are absolutely fantastic. Even if you don’t like horse racing you can appreciate the cinematic prowess.
The Bad: Seabiscuit crawls out of the gate with a feel of a documentary instead of a big box office film. The film suffers from a feeling of self-importance that almost rips a great story apart. There are jumps back and forth between scenes that aren’t at all important to the overall movement of the film.
Frankly: Seabiscuit is a puff piece that reaches to inspire. It’s a decent film made to be great yet failing to ever achieve such status.
+ Charlie Craine