Roger Ebert points out to us today that "The Greatest Game Ever Played was a game of golf, in case you thought your team might have been involved." Ha.
Laura and I saw a preview screening of The Greatest Game Ever Played Monday night. Structurally it was a messthe first third or so succumbs to the lack of clarity about people, places, and relationships that seems to plague based-on-a-true-story period pieces. But even so, we both found the movie unexpectedly involving, and by the end we were both so caught up in the final match that we were clutching each other and applauding.
Bill Paxton's direction* calls maybe too much attention to itself, particularly in flashy CGI shots that follow golf balls along their dizzying trajectories, and Shia "Café" LaBeouf is good but not distinguised in the lead role. What makes the movie gripping, though, is that the showdown is between two very likeable characters who respect each other, either of whom we would be happy to see win.
Anyway, if you don't mind a blatantly manipulative, crowd-pleasing, feel-good historical golf epic, you'll probably enjoy this. We did.
If you like a good, dark, thoughtful thriller that successfully wrestles with Big Questions, see Bill Paxton's directorial debut, Frailty. It's harrowing. Highly recommended.