The Rocket Charles Binamé

The story of hockey legend Maurice "Rocket” Richard isn’t just that of a great athlete but also of a flashpoint for Duplessis-era Quebec. Thus it’s doubly tragic that this recent biopic doesn’t rise above the merely average. The film follows Richard (Roy Dupuis) from his humble beginnings to his entry into a faltering NHL — told by an obnoxious manager to "make hockey exciting,” Richard obliges not only by leading the league in scoring but by becoming a controversial voice against Quebecois oppression. This would make for one hell of a political provocation were it not for director Charles Biname, who uses the same Ron Howard template for historical melodrama as every other biopic director. The movie is professional enough to watch but it’s one of those brown movies that surround any thematic issues in a blanket of lush design and dogged narrative. So conventional is the film that you have to blink at Yves Beaupre’s keep case pull quote: "The best sports drama since Raging Bull!” Not even close. Where that movie was a "from the inside” view of a brutal man’s brainpan, this is a strictly "from the outside” approach concerned with getting the outfits right first. As the film takes pains to depict a man full of confusion and agony over his role in sports and Quebec, it wouldn’t have been tough to make this a hum-dinger but as it stands, the movie is barely worth watching whenever they decide to air it on the CBC. Extras include a half-hour "tribute” to Richard that also serves as an ad for the movie, 12 deleted scenes, and filmographies for most of the principals. (Alliance Atlantis)
(Alliance Atlantis)