True Blue [DVD]
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Based on the true story of the 1987 Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race. Following the previous year's defeat by Cambridge, American Oxford student Rick Ross and Brit Donald Macdonald vow revenge. Oxford coach Daniel Topolski initiates a harsh training schedule for the team, only to face a rebellion from the American students. Topolski is ready to resign, but stays on after an appeal from Macdonald.
On one level, True Blue is a distillation of the brutal physicality and unique focus demanded of participants in the annual University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge. Based on legendary oarsman and Oxford coach Dan Topolksi's book about the 1987 race, it is also a tale of revenge; dominant Oxford had been defeated the year before and wanted the title back. More than that, though, it is a story of sporting obsession and the Machiavellian resources required to last the course in an event shrouded in ritual. When a clutch of lantern-jawed American international rowers muscle in on the Oxford team and threaten, quite literally, to rock the boat with their disregard for any of the tradition surrounding the race or Topolski's coaching methods, the fragile concept of team spirit is splintered.
Ferdinand Fairfax's film, full of fine performances, builds the tension through a series of confrontations and a constantly shifting balance of power over the year leading up to the race. The intuitive relationship between the besieged Topolski (the excellent Johan Leysen) and the President of the College Captains, Donald McDonald (the quietly impassioned Dominic West) is particularly well drawn. With more than a hint of Chariots of Fire, not least in the Vangelis-like soundtrack, this is a moving and beautifully observed film about sporting passion.
On the DVD: True Blue is presented in widescreen with a 16:9 anamorphic video aspect ratio that makes excellent use of the sweeping vistas of the Thames for the racing and training scenes which dominate the film. Stanislas Syrewicz's brooding score underpins the action at every stage and, thanks to the quality of the Dolby Surround soundtrack, helps to bring an appropriately epic, theatrical feel to your home viewing. --Piers Ford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The acting is good and it's always great to see the most beautiful sport on film.
It's in the nature of many rowers to scrutinise anothers technique from the bank as they row past and as an ex-rower it's impossible not to see that most of the actors, although doing a fine job on the water, are not rowers which does detract from the believability somewhat. But then, no-one said rowing was easy. All in all a good film. I would recommend it, especially before race-day, though do read the original book by Dan Topolski.
The action sequences are well shot in picturesque locations around the Thames Valley, and the close-ups do show that some work was done with the actors to actually learn (albeit very basically) the rowing technique - to add an aspect of reality that could easily have been missed out.
The film is constantly accompanied by an extremely cheesy score, but this adds to the film and definitely works with the climax during the race itself.
All in all a very entertaining film - it's great that one has been released about the sport of rowing.
One to watch before taking part in any competition.
Must rank up there with the Rocky films as a classic underdogs-overcome-adversity epic!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Item arrived in plenty of time for Xmas, was bought as a gift, so cannot make further comment except that the recipient has not complained.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
bought as a birthday present, he has previously read the book so he enjoyed itPublished 7 months ago by Sharon Kendrick