Saturday, June 18, 2005

Cinderella Man

This weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing two outstanding films. I saw Batman Begins and Cinderella Man. Since Hawk already reviewed Batman (see 6/16 post), I will stick to Cinderella Man.

My thoughts on Cinderella Man can be summed up in one word: Tremendous.

Now regular readers of this blog know that it does not take an Oscar-worthy film to earn a ringing endorsement from Wild Banshee. But, the Banshee does see a lot of movies, and I can homestly say that Cinderella Man is perhaps one of the ten best movies that I have ever seen.

Cinderella Man is the true story of depression-era boxer James J. Braddock. Braddock (Russell Crowe) runs on hard times when the market crashes in 1929. A series of injuries take Braddock out of the ring, so, like millions of Americans, Braddock struggles to scrape together enough money to feed his wife (Renee Zellweger) and three children. When Braddock finally gets a chance at redemption in the ring, a depressed nation rallies behind him.

Crowe and Zellweger turn in passionate and convincing performances as they portray the Braddocks' commitment to their children and to each other. Ron Howard does an outstanding job directing this film. He creates truly dynamic characters with whom the audience will undoubtedly feel an emotional connection. Howard also does an outstanding job with the cinematography of the fight scenes.

Of course, boxing plays a central part in this movie. But, Cinderella Man is much more than a fight film. Cinderella Man serious without being depressing. It is moving without being manipulative or sappy. And, above all, it is inspiring. Cinderella Man is absolutely a must-see film.