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Movie2 12.04.13

Weekend of a Champion

December 4, 2013, 12:00 am


A few months ago, Ron Howard’s Rush, the biopic version of the rivalry between Formula 1 drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, hit the big screen and sank quickly at the box office. That’s too bad, because it’s a good movie, fast-paced, passionate and heavy on the human drama, even if it’s easy to navigate. Now there’s Weekend of a Champion, director Frank Simon and producer Roman Polanski’s documentary of Jackie Stewart’s 1971 win at the Monaco Grand Prix, complete with a 2013 coda of Stewart and Polanski watching the movie and discussing it. This one should have stayed in the vault. It’s not that the movie doesn’t have its moments. Stewart’s ever-present calm is welcome, and his descriptions of the best ways of braking, accelerating and shifting at Monaco are fascinating. However, there’s lots and lots of talk, and not much racing. If you’re not already a Formula 1 devotee, it may be best to look elsewhere. It doesn’t help that Polanski gets way too much screen time, and Stewart—usually quite charming—makes a joke about most drivers in those days being amateur gynecologists. Ugh. (DR)

 

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