Run the Race is the inspirational film that Tim Tebow and his brother produced. I hate stripping down a movie to a simple point, but it’s going to be the first thing out of everyone trying to sell you on this movie. If you aren’t the kind of person that takes interest in Tebow than this film won’t be for you. After all, what kind of people seek out movies about religion impacting football players? They tend to be the same kind of people that like Tebow and have strong opinions on Nike.
Faith-based films and their faithsploitation subgenre has started to mature in the last 2 years. The films are becoming self-aware and are acknowledge their genre cliches. But, it’s pulling it off in the most base way possible. Now, I don’t want to poo poo a brand of films for trying to improve. The changes are incremental and we’re seeing narratives that actually look like they take place in the real world.
That being said, I did like the small role for Eddie George. Before you Titan up, let’s remember why we’re here. The film tries a YA take on the Book of Job, while also trying to build the mildest teen drama in theaters. The central two brothers are using Christianity as a way to deal with their mom’s death. One brothers is all about the Jesus, while the one wants a scholarship to escape small town poverty. The result is spiritual brooding dotted with moments of emerging teen sexuality that wouldn’t have raised an eye brow on 90s network TV.
Much has already been made of the confusing third act. Did the Christian movie get a wee bit Machiavellian or is it just a poorly thought out deus ex machina? Honestly, I don’t really care. Apathy smacks you upside the head when a film isn’t good enough, but not terrible enough to raise your attention. If it were a college project, I would tip my hat to the creative team and wish them well on their future endeavors. However, there is way too much talent being poured into this non-registering movie.
Run the Race will invite venomous barbs from critics who want to score points on something they don’t understand. I’ve grown up around these kinds of kids. The ones that don’t tell you their town’s name, but they will name the county like that matters to anyone not from there. I can understand why the brothers fight each other, yet love what they want to accomplish. However, Run the Race is a film in search of a purpose.
It’s a fate that befalls many movies that start off with a great premise. How does religion help two brothers overcome the terrible hand that life has dealt them? It’s just that you’re putting them through the motions until one of two things happen. Either they reconnect and find greater purpose or they split further apart. Given the nature of the film and the fact that it’s about teenagers, you can wisely assume the edge is missing from Run the Race.
That being said, it does use death wisely as a motivating factor. Speaking back to my earlier point of the film, I learned late in the game that the script was slowly developed over 14 years. While that allows a creator to get all of their ideas fine-tuned, it also raises the opportunity for over-stuffing. You can’t do everything at once, no matter how much you’d like to do it. That’s a shame, as I feel that an outside editor or additional co-writer could’ve trimmed up the fat. The direction was pretty solid, but I came to expect that after seeing the director’s prior work on Where Hope Grows.
If this is your jam, then check it out.