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SBD/October 4, 2013/Media
Muhammad Ali Films Explore Fighter's Supreme Court Case Over Draft Refusal
Published October 4, 2013
DOESN'T QUITE GO THE DISTANCE: VARIETY's Brian Lowry wrote "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight" is "filled with interesting tidbits" but "never quite coalesces." If Frears' "earnest interpretation isn’t quite a missed opportunity, it’s an under-realized one." It is "worth watching for the historical moment it represents -- particularly since that moment continues to echo through to the present -- but it’s less compelling than it might have been" (VARIETY.com, 10/2). In S.F., David Wiegand wrote Frears and screenwriter Shawn Slovo "seem to have forgotten" that "films based on historical events work best if they are at least equal parts drama and documentary." The "fundamental problem with the film" is there is "no drama." The actors make the film "seem better than it is, but the real Ali, with all his youth, vigor, bravado and passion, convinces us that he and his case deserved much better" (SFGATE.com, 10/2). The AP's Bruce Schreiner wrote the film does "tell a story ... though some liberties are taken for entertainment's sake." It is "surprisingly engrossing ... for a movie that revolves almost entirely around the legal process" (AP, 10/2). The AP's Lynn Elber wrote, "The dynamic Ali is represented by the legend himself through news clips woven effectively into the drama," but the emphasis is on "the camaraderie and give-and-take among the justices" (AP, 10/1).