Monday, 9 April 2012
It took four hours to watch this movie on US TV because of the ad breaks! A lesser film would have caused me to give up, but this one is endearing - even if the outcome is predictable. Clint Eastwood stars and Directs this film and as a consequence it is solid and moves with a good and even pace. Add to that a supporting cast of Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner and Donald Sutherland and you know this has the potential to deliver something good - and it doesn't disappoint.
The plot is simple. These four were top military guys in their prime in the late 1950s as they were training to be the first US astronauts. They screwed up and their project was pulled in favour of sending a chimp into space. The one who did the pulling is now in need of their services to save his own ass and agrees for them to go on a final mission as a team to fix a rogue satellite whose orbit is failing.
The presenting issues are deceit and ageism. The deceit is down to the Programme Director and his self-serving scheming. The ageism is down to almost everyone. These guys did their stuff when computers were in their infancy and more was done by 'feel' and instinct. It is these qualities that shine through in how the team operate and it is how the team functions - old men coming to terms with 40 year-old hurts and disappointments that gives gravitas to the story. The dynamics of the relationships are handled with sensitivity and come across with believability which endears the foursome to viewers. There is love, forgiveness, pride, sacrifice and disappointment on show by the bucket load. For a potentially soppy and wet film, it holds up very well.
I know it's more than a decade old, but I for one was glad to catch up with this film. If it comes around on TV (with more sensible ad breaks) or on disc, it's well worth a punt. I'll give it 7.5/10.