Branch Rickey: No. I want a player who's got the guts “not” to fight back.
Jackie Robinson: You give me a uniform, you give me a number on my back, I'll give you the guts.
When it’s over, this is not solely a baseball film or a biopic about Jackie Robinson. Expertly directed by veteran screenwriter turned director, Brian Helgeland, this is a film about prejudice, segregation, and the will to overcome great adversity. Set in 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), president and general manager for the New York Brooklyn Dodgers, makes a history-making decision when he integrates major league baseball by signing an African American named Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) onto his team. The casting is right on with each actor portraying their characters with the up most credibility. This is the best work Ford has done in recent years. He is funny, serious, and captures the spirit of a tough no-frills businessman who sets aside color for the advancement of the sport. Boseman is incredibly honest in his portrayal of the sports hero. He captures the intensity of each scene with the use of action, rather than words. I can gage the anger and frustration Robinson is feeling by Boseman’s facial expressions and body language. A perfect example of this is in a scene when the opposing team’s manager throws racial slurs (to include the repeated “N” word) at Jackie while he is at bat. With great restraint, Jackie turns the other cheek, but when he returns to the dugout, he slams his bat against the concrete wall, splintering it. I think this is one of the best scenes in the film, because it is definitive of what Jackie feels and what he is up against and shows what he would like to do, but can’t. Beautiful. Inspirational. Triumphant.
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