It’s been a few days since I rented Chariots of Fire, and I’m still quite unsure how I feel about this film. The biggest question that still lingers in my mind is, “was I suppose to be inspired by this story?” To be quite honest, this was rather an uninteresting and uneventful movie with subpar performances.
I never felt the urge to get wrapped up in the story and the character’s dilemmas. Everyone seemed really uptight, and I understand this was the early 1920’s, but the main characters Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) and Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) were not interesting.
If you read the plot summary, you’ll learn that religion is a major subplot. Liddell refuses to run on the sabbath day, and Abrahams faces nothing uphill challenges since he’s Jewish. These are two virtual pieces to the overall story that I feel doesn’t get the attention they deserve. If you are going to make this film about religious athletes, it should be a major focal point. I know some of you will argue with me about it; I just never felt like it was in my face like I expected it to be.
Another thing that bugged me was that these two leads were quirky, to say the least. Abrahams has an obsessive mentality and can’t handling losing, while Liddell struggles the entire length of the film following his religion and trying to serve his purpose as a runner. Both guys have people who care about them to answer to, but in the end, love conquers all, so it’s not as dramatic as you would expect.
I know many people out there love this film and took so much more away than I did. I was disinterested for most of the movie and struggled to make it to the end. At no point did I feel the urge to grab my shoes and go for a run. When I watch other sports movies, I always want to go out and be active. Maybe Chariots of Fire wasn’t supposed to be that movie, and that’s why I didn’t like it. Either way, I’ll chalk this movie up as another questionable choice for Best Picture. 3/10