We Are Marshall

"Good"

We Are Marshall Review


Football fans (myself included) talk a lot about pain. The physical sport relies heavily on violent verbiage: We got killed out there today, we're going to slaughter that team, and so on. Those terms have never seemed more inappropriate than they do right now.

In 1970, the West Virginia-based Marshall University learned the true meaning of pain in the face of a loss. The team lost family and friends tied to the small school's football program when a plane crashed on its way home from East Carolina University. Administration, coaches, and surviving players left behind due to injury faced difficult decisions in the aftermath of the tragedy -- should they scrap the program or field a team of substitutes and play in honor of the deceased?

Off the field, the inspired-by-true-events melodrama properly respects the painful material -- the film's director, McG, helmed two Charlie's Angels movies but shows miraculous growth in this film. And by that, I mean he largely abandons the buzz-cut edits and pop-rock music cues of those cavity inducing sugar rushes, and allows well-conceived characters to have genuine conversations about meaningful things. Hey, progress is progress.

We Are Marshall runs its sincere story, credited to Jamie Linden and Cory Helms, through the playbook of motivational sports movies, jabbing a few emotional buttons and blitzing a few heartstrings. Matthew Fox of TV's Lost conveys the sadness of Marshall's survivors with heavy hung shoulders and mournful stares. David Strathairn, always welcome, personifies a conflicted school president torn between the memory of the deceased and the promise of a bright future at the end of the mourning process.

That ray of hope is Jack Lengyel (Matthew Mcconaughey), a football instructor and family man so moved by Marshall's predicament that he hounds the school's leaders for a head coaching job. Lengyel's a space cadet, an unfocused sports cliché wrapped in a plaid blazer who is prone to random tangents but dedicated to his team. Despite his unorthodox methods, Lengyel will have his team ready for game day.

And that's where Marshall fumbles. On the field, McG's picture mirrors every other football flick we've recently seen. It might as well be the kids of Gridiron Gang, the convicts of The Longest Yard or Vince Papale's Philadelphia Eagles from Invincible tossing the pigskin around. There's only so many ways one can stage the action between the lines, and I'm afraid we've exhausted them by the time we reach Marshall.

Football players know that games are won in the trenches, that small zone between the offensive and defensive lines that can swing a close game toward a win or a loss. The same goes for football movies, and Marshall -- a great film for the school's alumni but a decent film for everyone else -- mainly prevails when it wanders into that moral gray area between the need to honor its fallen players and the desire to simply play.

She are Marshall.



We Are Marshall

Facts and Figures

Run time: 131 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd December 2006

Box Office USA: $43.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $43.5M

Budget: $65M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 49%
Fresh: 61 Rotten: 63

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Brent O'Connor, Thomas Tull, Jeanne Allgood

Starring: as Jack Lengyel, as Red Dawson, as Nate Ruffin, as President Dedmon, as Paul Griffen, as Annie Cantrell, as Carole Dawson

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.