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REMEMBER THE TITANS

SYNOPSIS:
In 1971 T.C. Williams High School is being integrated. In the name of affirmative action African-American Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) is appointed school football coach over popular white coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton). Determined to coach and select his team without favour Boone must overcome the resentment of white players and handle the adulation of the black community in order to mould a successful team. Based on a true story.

"I'm sure the real story of coach Herman Boone's appointment was much tougher than depicted here but for a feel-good mix of sport and race relations Remember The Titans does its job with reasonable efficiency and a few neat touches. This is one of those films which subscribes to the theory that the world's problems can be solved on the sporting field without having to invest in too much off-field speechmaking to get the point across. The soft-sell approach finds all the usual suspects lined up as Boone and Yoast take their charges to training camp where black and white players are forced to room with each other and endure the kind of physical rigours normally associated with Marine Corps drills. There's the California surfie-type, the fat white kid, the all-American captain who refuses to play with blacks (he will of course be the one who undergoes major consciousness change by the end) and the cocky black players who think they have it made now that a "brother" is in charge. To the credit of writer Gregory Allen Howard and director Boaz Yakin (who made the wonderful Fresh in 1994), the stock setup is given life in the smaller details. Boone is not portrayed in purely heroic terms; he's even harder on the players than Yoast, who similarly is not played as a racist but a professional concerned about his career. There's also some clever detailing in the methods used to make black and white players know each other on a human level. For all its positive touches Remember The Titans is still largely concerned with touchdowns, quarterbacks and other rituals which make American football one of the least attractive sports. Tough going at times if you're not captivated by it. This doesn't probe very deep and belongs firmly in the warm and fuzzy race-relations stable but has just enough below the surface to muster a pass mark."
Richard Kuipers

"Noted independent filmmaker Boaz Yakin makes the leap to studio films; and what a way to do it - in a Jerry Bruckheimer production. Bruckheimer, known for his over-the-top action films seems an unlikely choice to be involved in this parable about the power of tolerance; but the result is surprisingly effective. There's an interesting dynamic between the trademark Bruckheimer flash and Yakin's rather more thoughtful and restrained approach (as evident from his previous work - the remarkable Fresh springs to mind). The tale of an almost mythical season in the life of one high school (although it apparently really happened) becomes a metaphor for the struggle for civil rights and - more importantly - respect for African-Americans. While Yakin brings real excitement to the on-field action, it's clear he's much more concerned with the issues and relationships off the field. And while he does lay on the syrup pretty thick at times, it's also clear he cares about his characters and the story he's telling. Thankfully, none of his central characters are stereotypical for this type of film. Boone is no saint; but Yoast is also no sinner - they're just people who find themselves in a particular situation. Denzel Washington adds another memorable role to his resume as Coach Boone, the perfectionist with a perceptive eye. He's brilliantly supported by Will Patton as Yoast, and Ryan Hurst as the team's star. In the end, things turn out just a little too neatly to ring entirely true; and it certainly wears the 'feel-good' label on its sleeve. But as a moving examination of racial conflict and resolution at a human level (mixed with some big hits on the gridiron), Remember the Titans is one to remember."
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

See Brad Green's SOUNDTRACK REVIEW

REMEMBER THE TITANS (PG)
(US)

CAST: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst

DIRECTOR: Boaz Yakin

PRODUCER: Jerry Bruckheimer

SCRIPT: Gregory Allen Howard

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Philippe Rousselot

EDITOR: Michael Tronick

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Deborah Evans

MUSIC: Trevor Rabin

RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista International

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 25, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: August 22, 2001

VIDEO RELEASE: February 20, 2002 (Sell-thru)







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