The Flying Scotsman **
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon
Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic elements and strong language.
We've seen this movie before. The underdog tries to set a world record, and will stop at nothing to accomplish this task. When it comes to speed, the best film of that genre that I could think of is "The World's Fastest Indian," only here instead of machine power being needed to get to it top, it's the speed of man. Jonny Lee Miller delivers an acceptable performance as Graeme Obree, a cyclist who created his own bike using parts from a washing machine as a way to beat the one hour land record. With the help of his wife Anne and his manager Malky, Graeme dons a sweatsuit and becomes "The Flying Scotsman." After getting the record he not only has it stripped away from him, but begins to suffer from mental health problems that put himself and his family at risk, and yet he continues to press onward.
I would expect better from art house fare, and yet "The Flying Scotsman" does resort to Hollywood underdog techniques. Sometimes I do not mind, however the screenplay doesn't exactly get me involved, and never made me want to even bother rooting for Graeme. In a film like this, with a plot that I have seen before, care for the characters is exactly what is needed. The best thing to say about it is Mackinnon's direction, which has some beautiful dark shots of the area, and I can admire his use of one takes. "The Flying Scotsman' is mere entertainment, and at times it isn't even that.