42 DVD (2013)
SYNOPSIS: In 1946, Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers took a stand against Major League's infamous colour line when he signed Jackie Robinson to the team. The deal put both men in the crosshairs of the public, the press and even other players. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and let his talent on the field win over fans and his teammates - silencing his critics and forever changing the game of baseball.
For most of us who are not particularly knowledgeable about the sports, Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to become a Major League baseball player in America. At a time when racial segregation is still a common act, Robinson’s success comes across as anything but easy. 42 documents the man’s extraordinary journey in this biography written and directed by Brian Helgeland.
Sort of a break from his usual scribing which include action flicks liked Man on Fire, A Knight’s Tale and Payback, Helgeland’s attempt at biography is on the whole accessible even though the subject matter is not a familiarity in this part of the continent. Yet when the themes include never giving up hope, courage and determination, the movie instantly becomes universally appreciated.
Helgeland’s tale focused mainly on Robinson’s several milestones in his early career when he is first approached by Dodgers’ manager Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford with a fake prosthetic chin and nose) to play for his team. Rickey believes the world is changing and money is never black or white but green. Despite the initial objections from his staff, Rickey believes in the hot tempered Jackie Robinson in making a difference.
Racial taunting it seems was a major issue in Robinson’s baseball career. The movie spent a lot of moments showcasing that be it the fellow team mates who first refused to play with him, the audience booing him and even the hotel shunned the Dodgers on their road trip because of one black team mate. Despite the touchy subject, Helgeland never let those moments turned gritty and ugly or emotional. One sequence which had the manager of Philadelphia Phillies, Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk) throwing vulgarities at Robinson signaled the movie’s sole intense moment.
Providing enough wry humour and wits to the character, Harrison Ford gives one of his career best as the forward thinking Branch Rickey. Chadwick Boseman mostly seen on television has the acting chops to deliver a man who is the on his way to become a legend. Generally, the movie boasts a competent display of production details from that era although not on a major scale. The baseball scenes in addition are generally well-executed.
Feel free to call this a biographer or a sports movie, 42 might be a tad predictable for some but it’s genuinely compelling on the whole as compared to the drier, contemporary baseball flick, Moneyball.
Stepping Into History is a 9 minutes interview segment with main leads Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman. .
Imaging looks great on screen with fine details and colours. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack provides robust, atmospheric experiences during the stadium and game sequences.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee