When African-American track star Jesse Owens boarded the ferry to go to the 1936 Olympics, he didn’t know what to expect. “Race” tells the story of Owens and his path to success in a tumultuous time of oppression, when blacks in America were second-class citizens, and the Holocaust was just two years away in Germany.
Owens is depicted as earnest and calm, and Stephan James plays him well. Personally, I enjoyed the score of the film, as the music intensified the drama in certain scenes. Whenever something “big” was about to happen, such as a decision or a race, the music became louder and faster paced.
“Race” is like typical athlete biopics such as (42). It touches on the various aspects of Owen’s life while putting focus on his accomplishments on the track. Jason Sudekis does rather well in the role of Larry Snyder, Owens coach. However, his performance is brought down because it is hard to forget that Sudekis is really a comedian rather than a dramatic actor.
Being a biopic, parts of “Race” are predictable, given that most viewers are somewhat familiar with Owens’ fairytale-like performance at the Olympics. Owens nearly single-handedly disproved Hitler’s theory of “Aryan-supremacy’ at the Olympics in Germany. However, the film contains numerous details that are surprising. For instance, many people know that Hitler refused to congratulate Owens at the Olympics, but interestingly, neither did President Roosevelt.
While viewers should see “Race,” parts of it are run-of-the-mill as screenwriters add cliché interactions.
Nevertheless, the story of Jesse Owens is so excellent, that you have to see “Race.”He is an American legend whose life journey is a great plot by itself. It reminds us just how turbulent the world was at the time, and how much pressure was on Owens, both on and off of the track. Perhaps the film can inspire us to overcome adversity as well.