If you were to have guessed whose life story would get a big screen adaptation next, you most likely would not have said Eddie Edwards, a British skier who gained fame in the 1980s. Regardless of that, the story of one man reaching his goals despite all odds and making it through every obstacle put in his way, is a universal theme. Edwards was one man who flatly refused to give up, and was determined to make it to the Olympics and to compete in ski jumping, throwing yourself full speed off a high ledge is not something people choose to do lightly. With the help of (fictional) coach Bronson Peary played by Hugh Jackman, Eddie (Taron Egerton) begins his training to become a ski jumper.
Taron Egerton is very much the up and comer, after Kingsman: The Secret Service rocketed him onto our screens (a fantastic film), he looks to have a lucrative career and this is his second major role in a film and it’s clear straight off why he was chosen. Egerton does a fantastic job of bringing the character to the screen, making him relatable, funny and the perfect underdog because you cannot resist rooting for him. The physical look of the character, most poignantly the massive underbite, does at some points become slightly distracting while only just veering away from the realm of parody, although of course it is relatively true to life, so it’s difficult to complain too much about that. Jackman is the go to actor, he’s always dependable and can shine even in a bad film so this is a piece of cake, playing someone who’s a typical drunk that just needs the right reason to turn his life around, with plenty of one-liners in his back pocket. Really, those two are all you need to talk about with the cast because their teacher/student relationship is basically the film itself, but there’s definitely reason for a mention of Jim Broadbent’s role as a BBC commentator which is quite enjoyable.
Directed by Dexter Fletcher who may still be fairly unfamiliar to some (this being his third directorial attempt) as for his career he’s been more often found in front of the camera, rather than behind it but when he does it works out well; his debut was with Wild Bill, a much underrated film which is well worth a watch. This time around he’s created something which is put together extremely well, a fantastic soundtrack leaving you with no doubt as to the time you’re in, full of humour, without a dull moment and gives a real sense of British pride. The setting of snow, mountains and wide open spaces is a refreshing change of pace from the constant bombardment of films set in London, New York, Los Angeles and every large city in-between.
If there was one word which describes this film perfectly it’s charming, it has a sweet, honest quality about it that makes it very enjoyable and yet still with a strong message of hope and refusal to give up, no matter what people say. For the style and subject matter, the film is great and if there was one thing to be commented upon, it would be that there’s a high likelihood that the film won’t resonate as well with international audiences and that the charm it bears may hit more of a note with British audiences but until it is officially released, that’s only one perception. Regardless of that thought, it’s a fun and humorous film which is a pleasure to watch and may even bring a little tear of joy to audiences eyes in its ending moments.