Thursday, February 18, 2010

#417: This Sporting Life

(Lindsay Anderson, 1963)

Most people consider this Lindsay Anderson's best film, a character portrait that reminds me more of a Cassavetes film than the average sports film. So if you haven't guessed it yet, that cover over there might be a bit misleading, unless I guess you take it metaphorically. See, the main character is only able to express himself through violence, something which often ends up hurting himself more than others.

Like Cassavetes, Anderson is an auteur in the truest sense of the word. His films are deeply personal, powerful in their vision, and expertly realized. But auteur directors can be extremely polarizing, and I didn't particularly connect with this film, just as I didn't connect with If.... Perhaps, just like that film, This Sporting Life is inherently British, seeped in class just as much as masculinity. But I think also the deep melodrama here fails to impact me on a personal level, and the movie reminds me more of other films I've seen (most notably the far superior Raging Bull) than of moments in my life.

Anderson's films have impressed me enough that at another point in my life I might be more inclined to return to them, but for now, I'll leave them be.

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