`Marshall': a triumph over team's tragedy

Honest portrayal of those who turned grief into victory

Review B

December 22, 2006|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Movie Critic

On a rainy night in November 1970, an airplane crash took the lives of 75 people, including nearly every member of Marshall University's Thundering Herd football team. One year later, with a team composed almost exclusively of freshmen, the squad - renamed the Young Thundering Herd - pulled off one of the great victories in collegiate sports history.

We Are Marshall is the story of that tragedy, that team and that victory. It's a story of grief, of moving past loss, of honoring the departed by not neglecting those who remain. Maybe that all sounds mawkish and a little too calculatedly rah-rah, but Marshall's filmmakers - director McG (Charlie's Angels) and first-time screenwriter Jamie Linden - have enough confidence in their material to let the story stand on its own and (largely) avoid cheap sentimentality. The result is a movie that inspires without pontificating and plays on the heartstrings without pounding on them incessantly.

We Are Marshall (Warner Bros.) Starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, David Strathairn. Directed by McG. Rated PG. Time 125 minutes.

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