This is the story of Ernie Davis, the first African-American football player to win the Heisman Trophy. We follow him as he’s recruited to Syracuse University with a little help from legendary running back Jim Brown, through his career on the field (often in the face of racism), up until the moment he retires after being diagnosed with leukemia. A compelling life story, skillfully, engagingly but also traditionally told by the filmmakers who are unable to find that little extra something that might have lifted this sports movie out of the mainstream. Competent performances all around.
2008-U.S. 129 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Gary Fleder. Book: Robert Gallagher (“Ernie Davis: The Elmira Express”). Cast: Rob Brown (Ernie Davis), Dennis Quaid (Ben Schwartzwalder), Darrin Dewitt Henson (Jim Brown), Omar Benson Miller, Nelsan Ellis, Charles S. Dutton… Chadwick Boseman.
Trivia: Boseman’s feature film debut.