We Are Marshall

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We Are Marshall
Review (8.5/10)
(By Ron Henriques)

Not only the umpteenth sports movie of the year, but another "based on a true story" film, "We Are Marshall" is a surprisingly entertaining feature. Even more surprising is the fact that it was directed by McG, the guy that brought us soulless pop cinema like the "Charlie's Angels" flicks. Showing a great deal of restraint, McG, tosses out the familiar Mtv type editing to tell the simple story of how West Virginia's Marshall University rebuilt its Athletic program following the death of 37 football players and several staff members. The 1970 plane crash not only destroyed the hearts and spirits of families, but an entire town who worshiped football. Chiefly suffering from the loss are Ian McShane, who lost his only son, Kate Mara as the fianc?, defensive back Anthony Mackie and assistant coach Matthew Fox (always involved in a plane crash) who is coping with survivor's guilt. Though McShane, university President David Strathairn and several town leaders vote to discontinue the athletic program, Mackie in heroic fashion, organizes a student rally to demand that they hire a new coach for the next football season.

After a desperate search Strathairn receives a call from Matthew McConaughey's Jim Lengyel, an outsider who wants to lend a hand and help the school and town heal. With just three surviving team members, Strathairn and McConaughey plead with the NCAA to make an exception and allow freshman's to play on their team so they may rebuild "the Thundering Herd." Despite his optimism and limitless energy, McConaughey's drive may not be enough to convince a hurting town to bring back football when the wounds are still fresh. In true dramatic sports movie fashion, the team suffers setback upon setback, with their confidence and determination wavering. Some will protest, others will give up, but ultimately the team will come together under McConaughey's leadership and make history.

"We Are Marshall" walks a fine line towards becoming the typical sports genre pic, but McG's direction and the notable performances give it the proper momentum. Though he tells the story as simply as possible, McG doesn't hold back when it comes to layering the soundtrack with the top songs of the era or blaring Christophe Beck's adventuresome score over theater speakers. Despite the clich?s involving pep talks and characters inspiring each other to step out of their individual funks, there is never a dull moment in this picture and the story barely pauses to breathe. McConaughey continues to play this same character (who is basically himself) in every film he makes and though we've seen him exude confidence and eccentricity before, he's damn good at it and effectively holds the story together. His forward thinking and hyperactive brain make it nearly impossible for anyone to resist following him. Even more mesmerizing to watch is Fox, who is able to convey to pain of responsibility and survivors' guilt through his steely gaze alone. The writers did miss a few opportunities to touch upon issues of the period such as race relations and the shadow of the in progress Vietnam War. Though the story of "We Are Marshall" is factual, it's a little difficult to become immersed in the drama, but as a piece of entertainment, it manages to score on more than one occasion.

Keyword : Kate Mara, Ian McShane, McG, Rain, Rio, Adventure, Drama, Period, Teen, Sport, School, Anthony Mackie, Charlie, David, Ant, David Strathairn, Matthew McConaughey, Alone, Angel, Ate, Basic, Crash, Deal, Drive, Ex, Good, Heart, Here, Hero, Hurt, Liar, May, Next, Out, President, Race, RV, Shadow, SIS, Soul, Troy, Up, Virgin, War, We Are Marshall, Will, FILM, Fresh, Bi, M., Cas, Ron, Arin, Fia

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