Review: THE NATURAL (1984) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Review: THE NATURAL (1984)

RATING: 2.5/5

This Barry Levinson’s beautifully shot film of THE NATURAL is nevertheless a feast of an eye and has an irresistible fairy tale story, heavily on myth and aided by an irresistible act, lead by Robert Redford who given an iconic performance as Roy Hobbs --- part Shoeless Joe Jackson and part Joe Hardy.

The story follows the fortunes of Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) as the 19-year-old farm boy makes his way to try out with the Cubs. En route, he wins a bet by striking out the Whammer (Joe Don Baker), and eventually he sees himself with a potential career headstart as a baseball player. But in Chicago, a mysterious woman (Barbara Hershey) lures Roy to her hotel room and shoots him with a silver bullet. Cut fast to fifteen years later, in 1939, Roy at his older age joins the hapless New York Knights and literally knocks the cover off the ball, leading the team back into contention. The Knights’ owner (Robert Prosky), who is betting against his own team, sends Roy a beautiful temptress (Kim Basinger) so that he falls into a terrible slump, but his former childhood girlfriend (Glenn Close) appears to revive his hitting. Without using his famous “Wonderboy” bat for the big game, Roy still blasts an astounding awe-inspiring home run into the lights, setting off a magical shower of fireworks to the strains of Randy Newman’s beautiful score.

Overlong, the story is soaked way too much with sappy sentimentality that occasionally drags the film’s dramatic impact. Whenever the rousing action sequence leaves the ball park, the rest of the film appears to be less interesting. 

Apart from credible lead performance and beautifully crafted technical credits, the supporting cast are also well performed but not enough to cover much of the weak points surrounded in this film. 

Despite its many weak outcome, THE NATURAL manages to garner 4 Academy Award nominations including Best Supporting Actress for Glenn Close (lost to Peggy Ashcroft for A PASSAGE TO INDIA).

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