For anyone that has followed the world of ski jumping, or British Olympic history, Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards is considered a legend. Despite having never won a medal, he proved that dreams can come true if one is determined to make them happen. In Dexter Fletcher’s biopic of Edward’s life, aptly titled Eddie the Eagle, the director charts the unlikely athlete’s life from his discovery of ski jumping to his experience at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
What makes Edward’s accomplishments so stunning is the fact that he made it to the Olympics despite the lack of support from both the British Olympic committee and his fellow Olympians. This sense of unwavering heart and determination within Edwards is nicely capture in Taron Egerton’s engaging performance. Sporting big glasses, a bad haircut and fake teeth, Egerton creates an underdog that audiences cannot help but root for. He balances the comedic moments well without ever sacrificing the dramatic beats in the film.
Helping Egerton’s performance is the tremendous supporting work by Hugh Jackman as former ski jump champion Bronson Peary. Bringing both charm and humor to the role, Jackman displays a level of complexity to his washed-up alcoholic’s character. The film draws some interesting parallels between Peary’s relationship with Edwards and his own past relationship with his Olympic mentor. His redemption is just as significant as Edwards own accomplishments in the film.
The rest of the supporting cast is quite strong as well. The film features top-notch cameo appearances from Jim Broadbent, as a BBC commentator, and Christopher Walken, as Peary’s former coach Warren Sharpe. The performances by Keith Allen and Jo Hartley as Edwards’ parents are amazing with Allen’s stern, working-class father nicely contrasting Hartley’s more supportive mother. It should also be noted that Tim McInnerny offers an amusing performance as a British Olympic official who represents the old guard who was determined to see Edwards fail.
Although the script by Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton unfolds in typical by-the-numbers underdog sports film fashion, Fletcher still manages to keep the story interesting. He not only conveys the immense popularity of the sport at the time, but also the way in which the world seems so vast when viewed the through the eyes of a young British man who is sort of out of step with the other athletes in terms of skill and physicality. Eddie the Eagle creates moments of drama that are touching, but never feels overly sentimental.
Further adding to the tone of the film is the soundtrack which features an 80s-inspired synth-pop score by Matthew Margeson. Offering some low-key orchestral work, Margeson’s score compliments the playful tunes from the likes of Thin Lizzy, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet, Howard Jones, Marc Almond of Soft Cell, and Van Halen to name a few.
Eddie the Eagle is a delightful film that features winning performances from Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman. While it is conventional from a narrative standpoint, the film still manages to excite and inspire. It reminds audiences that one should not give up on their dreams no matter how many obstacles are put in their way.
© thevoid99 2016