Friday, December 02, 2005


Matt Damon The Legend of Bagger Vance Movie Starring Matt Damon
Directed by Robert Redford
Review by Byron Merritt


Rannulph Junuh (Matt Damon) is a golf phenomenon of the early 20th century. But WW I pulls him away and destroys his will to play the "gentlemen's game." In WW I he also loses everyone in his platoon and is the only survivor. Feeling as if he should have lost "something", his "authentic swing" vanishes ...and so does he. He fails to return to his Savannah, Georgia home and his fiancé, Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron).

Adele is struggling to keep her father's dream of maintaining the ultimate golf course alive. So she finesses two top golf players in to playing a winner take all ($10,000) game. But many in Savannah want a local player to compete in the game as well. And a young boy named Hardy Greaves (J. Michael Moncrief) pipes up that "Captain Junuh" should do it. Since Junuh had recently snuck back into town, the townsfolk approach him and convince him to play. But what to do about his lost authentic swing?

Enter the mysterious and mystical Bagger Vance (Will Smith). He shows Junuh the way back to a magical state of the authentic swing and acts as his caddy during the competition. He also teaches young Hardy how to caddy/play the game of golf, and helps Junuh and Adele find love again.


Robert Redford directs and does so admirably. The beautiful cinematography and the way the story unfolds are nicely pulled off. And like "A River Runs Through It", this film has a leisurely cadence that deals with a subject matter that could put many people to sleep. But it doesn't. The character development and interestingly vague aspects of Bagger Vance's existence add much to the entertaining story.

But the film doesn't break any new cinematic ground. The story, although nicely done, is very predictable and sometimes trite. Can Junuh find a love for golf that he lost so long ago? I’m sure you can answer that question even if you’ve never seen the movie.

Even so, though, this is an enjoyable film with lots of beautiful sunsets, southern exposures, and well-played characters.

Click here for The Legend of Bagger Vance movie trailer!


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