42 Just Misses a Grand Slam

“We had a victory of fascism in Germany. It’s time, time we had a victory over racism at home.”

Photo+courtesy+of+IMDB

Photo courtesy of IMDB

Solomon Kenworthy

     42 was released in 2013, and was directed by Brian Helgeland. The film stars Chadwick Boesman, Alan Tudyk, and Harrison Ford. Based upon real events, 42 see’s owner of the Dodgers, Branch Rickey, hire the first African American onto an official MLB team in 1947.

     Chadwick Boesman’s performance as Jackie Robinson is stellar. He excels at making you root for his character, and keeping things realistic. Alan Tudyk does a really good job at making you want to punch him in the face, which is his character so it works for the movie. Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey is utterly fantastic, and very different from his other performances. Ford is excellent at making you forget that he’s Harrison Ford. Never once watching this film did I go, “Wow look, he’s just playing Indiana Jones or Han Solo again.” There’s a monologue Ford delivers near the end of the movie that is astounding, and if you love baseball, will make you cry. 

     The script does an excellent job at bringing the audience back to a time where baseball was one of the most discussed topics in America. It’s not a comedy, but when there are jokes they work very well. There are scenes in the film that you think are useless, but then the script cleverly ties it back into the story. Making the audience actually pay attention, instead of mindlessly watching a screen. During the first act the story cuts around a lot, and is very jarring. Once Robinson joins Montreal, it feels more natural when it cuts from scene to scene quickly. 

     The directing is nothing phenomenal, but it does its job. There is a continuity error when Robinson first walks onto the field as a Brooklyn Dodger. In the medium shot there are reporters behind him, but when it cut the the wide angle shot, the reporters are in front of him. 

     The film’s first act brings the movie down quite a bit. I’m fully aware that other than the fact it’s a baseball movie, it’s nothing like The Sandlot, but I hope that years from now, people will look back on 42 as my generation’s, “Sandlot.” 

 

[My grade for 42 is a B+]