11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Paxton re-invents the sports movie,
This review is from: The Greatest Game Ever Played [DVD] (DVD)
Flashy,symbolic and quite powerful account of the 1913 U S Open where local amateur Francis Ouimet(Shia LeBeouf)goes head to head with Ted Ray(Stephen Marcus)and the legendary Harry Vardon(Stephen Dillane)for the title.
Written by Mark Frost(based on his excellent book of the same name),Bill Paxton(he also directed Frailty- a very under-rated horror film)imbues the proceedings with visual tricks worthy of a Fatboy Slim video and it works brilliantly.Golf has never been this kinetic on screen before.
Beautiful to look at with genuine period flavour and with it's sporting cliches punched across,Greatest... is rich entertainment.LeBeouf is fine as the rabbit caught in the headlights of two towering players and Dillane as the troubled and enigmatic Vardon is marvellous in a slightly underwritten role.In fact some of the elements of the book that gave it such richness are missing here- the unhinged Mrs Vardon and Harry's problems with his putter that was to haunt him the rest of his career are overlooked.
The irony of the "professional" as an outsider and certainly not a gentleman is well captured as is the attendant class prejudices.Peter Firth is miscast as Lord Northcliffe and Walter Hagen is completely ignored.
Still a wonderful evocation of a key moment in golf with the finale being expertly judged by Paxton to capture our emotions completely.I had tears streaming down my face at the end and I am happy to say so.