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Seabiscuit (Import) (DVD)



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Review

Proving that truth is often greater than fiction, the handsome production of Seabiscuit offers a healthy alternative to Hollywood's staple diet of mayhem. With superior production values at his disposal, writer-director Gary Ross (Pleasantville) is a bit too reverent toward Laura Hillenbrand's captivating bestseller, unnecessarily using archival material--and David McCullough's familiar PBS-styled narration--to pay Ken Burns-like tribute to Hillenbrand's acclaimed history of Seabiscuit, the knobby-kneed thoroughbred who "came from behind" in the late 1930s to win the hearts of Depression-weary Americans. That caveat aside, Ross's adaptation retains much of the horse-and-human heroism that Hillenbrand so effectively conveyed; this is a classically styled "legend" movie like The Natural, which was also heightened by a lushly sentimental Randy Newman score. Led by Tobey Maguire as Seabiscuit's hard-luck jockey, the film's first-rate cast is uniformly excellent, including William H. Macy as a wacky trackside announcer who fills this earnest film with a much-needed spirit of fun. --Jeff Shannon


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