Sunday, February 20, 2005
"yes I am 'the man'"
Coach Carter (12a)
Dir. Thomas Carter (no relation)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our dark that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people don't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.” This pivotal quote in Coach Carter – from Marianne Williamson (internationally acclaimed author and lecturer) is the essence of the whole movie.
This is a powerful and inspirational account of controversial high school basketball coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson). Carter caused some serious differences of opinion when he made national U.S. news for locking his undefeated team out of their gym and cancelling all their games because they were failing academically.
On screen (as in real life), things get incredibly tense – in Richmond for some of the kids, basketball is all they have, with the options pretty much being drugs, crime and prison. So Coach Carter’s ideology of “it’s not just about winning a basketball game... it’s about being a winner in life,” was as ambitious as his hard nosed methods of enforcing it were radical.
Yes, cinema is knee deep in sporting films – and they are certainly a mixed bunch – but when they work, as Coach Carter does, they can inspire an excellent sense of human spirit, achievement and endeavour. The message that “being good at sport is not enough” is an apt one for an age when our fickle society is often happy to bestow hero worship on semi-literate, good looking “athletes” – at least as long as they perform.
Coach Carter delivers a heady mixture of teen angst, noble sentiment and exciting basketball action (and I don’t even like watching basketball). A lot of the praise must go to Jackson who brings his unique blend of authority and charisma to the part of Carter, the real Ken Carter must be delighted with his on screen depiction.
It’s manipulative and worthy, but the message is so positive that this should be enforced viewing for teachers and sports coaches throughout the land. Remember; it begins on the street. It ends here…
Darkmatt Rating: ööö (see me after class mofo)
Read some more of: Matt Adcock's Film Reviews
Posted by Matt Adcock at 10:45 pm