Character – 1. Game – 0.
Levinson’s game is played on familiar ground and cliched rules, but above all, it is fair. And that is his self-created window where he gets in from. This unusual journey of a young athlete- or so it seems when it starts up- is authentic and practical. The double edge sword where his method is productive and necessary but not cinematic makes you go back and forth on where you lie in the final scorecard. All the stages and characters that Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) encounters is executed brilliantly by the director Barry Levinson. But mind you, this journey is not gripping all the time.
Roger and Phil; the screenwriters, who adapted it from Bernard’s novel could have been edited better and made it more thrilling for the viewers. There are very few such moments in the game where we get what we have been craving for. “I am here to play the game” claims Redford and it is a soothing medicine that makes up for all the sweat and blood we go through, which even his first swing or throw could never replace.
On terms of performance, Redford is supported magnanimously by Glenn Close whose both character and performance is a sight to behold. This never flinching attitude of Redford can only be shattered by Close’s generous watery eyes. Other supporting cast like Robert Duvall and Wilford Brimley are definitely on track although Kim Basinger seems awfully distracted in her cloak of being an enchantress. The film fumbles right before its last act that turns out to be the major disappointment of all, it slows down more than it already was. The Natural is the apt description of the film, what’s good about it comes from within, for it clearly isn’t going to work harder, a typical sport genre feature.