Ah, I’ve been dreading this day. 1981’s Best Picture is often considered to be one of the worst, if not THE worst Best Picture Winner of all time. So I popped in the film, and it was… okay. I mean, it certainly wasn’t a great movie, but I can definitely say I’ve seen worse on this list.
First of all, the focus of the movie is on these two runners both competing for the Olympic Gold. However, it’s not like one’s the hero and one’s the villain. Both characters are likable, which might be the main problem with the film. I’m not saying a movie with two protagonists can’t work, but if you’re going to make a sports movie, it helps if the audience knows who they can root for. Otherwise, it’s hard to get invested in the characters if you can’t figure out which one you want to win the race.
But let’s not ignore the places where the movie gets it right. I really like the dialogue, the cinematography impresses, and the music is, well, iconic. The acting is fine, but nothing you’ll remember. The direction, also fine, but I think that this movie needed a better vision in order to truly work. Someone like Francis Ford Coppola could have made this more interesting.
There’s also the editing, which never felt quite right to me. I feel that the editor on the film wasn’t as experienced. If the editor and director had been swapped, and they decided on one of the main characters to be the protagonist, then maybe we could have had a great movie. But it’s not awful. I sat through it without getting too bored. (Unlike some of the other films I’ve reviewed.) Overall, I think this film has its good and bad elements, making it a fine but forgettable experience.