Eddie the Eagle is not just another biopic

Published: April 15, 2016
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The high jumps and ski action scenes take viewers by surprise.

Biopics are usually a pleasant watch and Eddie the Eagle can be said to be the same. Directed by Dexter Fletcher, Eddie the Eagle is a true story revolving around the British skier, Michael Edwards, famously known as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards. He was the first person to represent England in the 1988 Olympics in the category of Ski jumping.

Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards and Taron Egerton.
Photo: IMDb

Despite wearing leg braces as a child, Eddie (Taron Egerton) dreamt of competing in the Olympic Games. Doctors advised him not to engage physically strenuous activities, yet he persisted with training in pursuit of his dream.

Taron Egerton, along with the remaining cast and crew, did a commendable job in bringing Eddie’s story to life. Moreover, Egerton has done justice to his role by bestowing Eddie Edwards the cinematic praise he rightfully deserves.

The ensemble cast also includes big names such as, Hugh Jackman playing the role of Bronson Peary – a former American ski champion and Christopher Walken, who appears in a cameo role as Warren Sharp, Peary’s coach.

Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton.
Photo: Screenshot

Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton.
Photo: Screenshot

With any movie that features an underdog, there will be, no doubt, scenes that are packed with emotion, and Eddie the Eagle did itself justice in this regard. In my opinion, the most powerful scene is when Peary and Eddie are seated near a ski jumping hill. Peary is seen trying to uplift Eddie’s spirits, telling him to have faith in himself and his sporting abilities.

Although the story centres around Eddie’s desire to make it to the Olympic Games, it also focuses on his attempt to score big in the Winter Games in Canada. He faces numerous trials and tribulations on his journey to qualify for the Olympics. The biggest conflict arises when Eddie begins to face health issues during the course of the movie. If that wasn’t enough, an elitist jury running the British Olympic ski team is conspiring to keep him off the squad for the Winter Games.

Taron Egerton.
Photo: Screenshot

Eddie’s character is not akin to a sports hero. He is an average person but he has a certain eccentric charm to him. He wears glasses, has curly hair and bears a normal physique – obviously, the world does not expect him to be extraordinary. However, he chooses to become just that, and that is what the story is about; breaking rigid stereotypes and remaining optimistic through life’s hurdles.

Focusing on the movie’s cinematography, which is the selling point for any sports movie – it is spot on. Owing to Matthew Margeson’s 80s flavoured soundtrack and great CGI effects, the high jumps and ski action scenes keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Storytelling is this movie’s best feature. It remains simple, straightforward and keeps the tang of the 80s alive. The comic relief timing, especially amidst emotional scenes, balances out tears and smiles.

Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton.
Photo: Screenshot

One might cast Eddie the Eagle as yet another stereotypical biopic with a common story line and character; a hopeless athlete facing financial restrain, inspired to compete in the Olympics and later he encounters a unique coach. Add to that his father being against him, the judges not wanting him and the constant bullying by Scandinavian contestants.

Nevertheless, Eddie the Eagle manages to incorporate various elements on screen to make it unlike any other biopic; the story flows smoothly from the beginning to the end with unsuspecting plot twists, keeping the audiences thoroughly engaged and glued to their screens.

muhammad.omar.iftikhar

Muhammad Omar Iftikhar

The author is a freelance writer and blogger and writes for various English dailies of Pakistan. He tweets @omariftikhar (twitter.com/omariftikhar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.