Trib­ute a leap of faith ED­DIE THE EA­GLE

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES -

(PG)

++ Di­rec­tor: Dex­ter Fletcher (Sun­shine on Leith) Star­ring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jack­man, Jo Hart­ley, Keith Allen Ver­dict: Too much doesn’t quite wing true HE came. He soared. He fin­ished stone moth­er­less last.

That was the be­gin­ning, mid­dle and end of the Ed­die ‘The Ea­gle’ Ed­wards ex­pe­ri­ence at the 1988 Win­ter Olympics in Cal­gary, Canada.

Swoop­ing down from the not-sos­teep slopes of Glouces­ter­shire, Ed­die rep­re­sented Great Bri­tain in the elite 70m and 90m sec­tions of the Ski Jump­ing com­pe­ti­tion with com­plete in­dis­tinc­tion.

So glo­ri­ously con­spic­u­ous was the man’s in­com­pe­tence when air­borne that world­wide cult hero­ism was the only pos­si­ble out­come.

Al­most three decades later, the fur­ther you delve into the story of Ed­die Ed­wards, the stranger and fun­nier it gets.

For in­stance, Ed­die got word of mak­ing the Bri­tish Olympic squad while liv­ing in a men­tal in­sti­tu­tion in Fin­land. OK, he was a lodger, not a pa­tient. Nev­er­the­less, it’s a typ­i­cal mo­ment in the life of a man who later went on to ti­tle his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy (I kid you not) On the Piste.

So even though it has ar­rived cu­ri­ously late af­ter the fact, a movie all about Ed­die Ed­wards shouldn’t have to do much to win over an au­di­ence. Or so you world have thought. Un­for­tu­nately, the mak­ers of Ed­die the Ea­gle have other ideas in mind when it comes to telling his re­mark­able life story.

Though gifted a highly orig­i­nal tale full of stuff you just couldn’t make up, di­rec­tor Dex­ter Fletcher and screen­writ­ers Sean Ma­caulay and Si­mon Kelton ig­nore a lot of it. In­stead, they make up their own stuff. And with each added em­bel­lish­ment, the more un­o­rig­i­nal (and un­re­li­able) the tale of Ed­die the Ea­gle be­comes.

The most glar­ing ex­am­ple is the char­ac­ter of Bron­son Peary, the for­mer Amer­i­can champ who be­comes Ed­die’s coach, men­tor and all-round in­spi­ra­tion.

Peary is a colour­ful piece of work as played by Hugh Jack­man – a chainsmok­ing al­co­holic with a zinger for ev­ery oc­ca­sion.

There is just one prob­lem. Bron­son Peary never ex­isted. And when you con­sider how much of the movie is chewed up by his bat­tle with the booze and un­con­ven­tional train­ing tips, that’s a big prob­lem.

Poor old Ed­die him­self cops it even worse. He doesn’t even get to be a char­ac­ter in his own movie. In­stead, as played by Taron Egerton (the break­out star of last year’s sur­prise ac­tion hit Kings­man: The Se­cret Ser­vice), he is a car­i­ca­ture.

And a wonky one, at that. Egerton seems so con­cerned with nail­ing Ed­die’s fa­mously twitchy fa­cial man­ner­isms that he for­gets all about the other re­quire­ments of the role.

All he de­liv­ers is a dope with a death wish – a fear­less, feck­less, fly­ing For­rest Gump who wanted noth­ing more in life than five Olympic rings stitched on his track­suit jacket. Now show­ing State Cin­ema and Vil­lage Cin­e­mas

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