I won’t say that I was ever a huge fan of Gary Ross, I always found his films to be much more stylized than they were deep in substance. Yet, I can’t say that he didn’t lasso me into a bygone era with Seabiscuit. There aren’t many films of Gary Ross’ that I can call truly great, but there’s just something about Seabiscuit. He may have been a small horse, but there were huge expectations on him, and the film delivers on all those expectations just like Seabiscuit himself did.
How to Download Seabiscuit
Seabiscuit was released on July 25, 2003. You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. If you like this one, check out other movies by Gary Ross such as The Hunger Games or Ocean’s 8.
The Movie Review
The film is set in the Depression era of the United States, people were grappling with economic woes and struggling to survive, but amidst the chaos emerged an underdog story for the ages. Seabiscuit charts the journey of an unlikely hero—a small, knobby-kneed horse with a heart as big as the Grand Canyon. Alongside, a team of misfits which includes the jockey Red Pollard, the enigmatic Charles Howard, and the grizzled horse whisperer Tom Smith.
The film shows the crew forming an unbreakable bond that defies the odds and sets the stage for racing glory.
Script and Narrative
Okay, so let’s get the one thing that I had issues with out of the way at the start of this review. The narrative usually gallops at a steady pace, but sometimes the script stumbles over its own hooves. Some moments feel a tad too scripted, diluting the authenticity of the character’s emotions. The dialogue, though peppered with charm and wit, does come out as forced at times.
That’s the only thing that bothered me with the film because the rest of the review will be me singing praises.
Gary Ross’s Stylish Filmmaking
Ross’ stylized filmmaking shines through here in the best way, painting the screen with a sepia-toned canvas that transports viewers straight into the gritty, tumultuous world of Depression-era horse racing. Ross doesn’t just direct; he curates a tapestry of nostalgia, adrenaline, and a whole lot of emotions, seamlessly blending style with substance for the first time in his career. His ability to balance the emotional depth of the characters with the electrifying racing sequences is commendable.
The casting is akin to finding the perfect stride in a race, it’s essential, and Seabiscuit nails it. Maguire, Bridges, and Cooper form a trifecta of talent, each bringing a unique flavor to their characters. Their chemistry ignites the screen, making us root for their triumphs and empathize with their struggles.
Tobey Maguire, the man who swung from buildings as Spider-Man, here swaps webs for reins. Surprisingly, Maguire proves that he’s more than just a friendly neighborhood superhero. He would go on to showcase his range later on in his career with films such as Brothers and Pawn Sacrifice, but this was really the first step.
Visual and Cinematic Brilliance
Visually, Seabiscuit is a majestic film. John Schwartzman’s cinematography captures the grandeur of the races with breathtaking shots. There are long takes, tracking shots, and some incredibly well-timed close-ups that really elevate the entire flow of a scene.
The final race that they show Seabiscuit win, is one of the best shots in any sports film to date. At times, it may feel like the camera is more interested in showcasing the horses than delving deeper into the character’s inner workings, but I like the horses so I personally can’t complain. The production design recreates the era with such finesse that you can almost smell the dust kicked up by the thundering hooves.
The final cherry on top of this brilliantly layered cake is Randy Newman’s score. The score serves as the glue that holds this film together. The music is punchy when the races are on, it’s somber when the emotions are high, and it really has the power to kick you down just like some of the characters are kicked down during the film.
There are a few moments where it overshadows the storytelling, attempting to nudge our feelings a bit too forcefully.
Seabiscuit is one of the best sports biographical films of the 2000s, a heart-stirring tale that captures the essence of triumph over adversity. While it stumbles occasionally on the scripting and editing side, the stellar performances and visual spectacle make it a winner.
So, ‘saddle’ up and join this exhilarating ride through history – you might just find yourself cheering for the underdog with tears in your eyes and a newfound appreciation for horse racing.
- Stellar performances from Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, and Chris Cooper
- Captivating depiction of the Depression-era atmosphere
- Well-crafted, immersive racing sequences
- Visually stunning cinematography capturing the grandeur of horse racing
- Heartwarming underdog story that resonates with audiences
- Occasional moments of forced dialogue
- Sentimental music occasionally overpowering storytelling