The Legend of Bagger Vance

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(2000) ★★½

Sky Movies Drama: Saturday 9 January, 5.50pm

Golfing prodigy Matt Damon returns to Savannah a broken man after his experiences in the Great War. A deadbeat drunk for 10 years, he is given a shot at redemption when mysterious caddy Will Smith offers to help him in a grand-prize celebrity tournament arranged by Damon’s former fiancée, heiress Charlize Theron.

Robert Redford’s handsomely framed fable looks good enough to eat, though some might find the story difficult to digest. This is the Deep South in 1928, yet no one alludes to Smith’s obvious ethnic background, never mind threaten to string him up for having the gall to wander across the golf course and into the clubhouse. But that’s part of the film’s fairy-tale quality, of course – Bagger Vance has about as much to do with historical accuracy as the legend of Cat Ballou.

Surrender to the film’s stillness and sleekness, though, and it’s possible to be momentarily seduced by its Southern hospitality and its magnolia-scented sunsets. Then take a look at Ava DuVernay’s Selma to set the record straight. The acting’s pretty good, mind, considering that Charlize Theron’s role makes virtually no sense. Most curious of all is that Matt Damon adopts the exact rythms and inflections of Denzel Washington’s speech.

Certificate: PG

Duration: 121min

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Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Drama/Romance Tuesday, 19 January at 4:50PM