Most biopics mistakenly try to take us from cradle to grave and end up skimming the surface. The wisdom of Cobb is that writer-director Ron Shelton knows that the close study of a single day can decode a human life.
To watch Tommy Lee Jones re-create the persona of the Hall of Famer in Cobb is to encounter the greatest SOB ever to come down the pike -- in or out of the domain of sports. The trek is hardly entertaining.
While the story of Cobb himself is a worthy one (Shelton's treatment, believe it or not, even has its similarities to Orson Welles' Citizen Kane), Shelton shortchanges the very game that made the man famous.
Cobb cuts right through the winner-take-all ethos of American athletics. It's a raw, inspired, audaciously funny, and unexpectedly moving collaboration between the writer-director Ron Shelton and Tommy Lee Jones.
This is a messy movie, sometimes repetitive, sometimes too compressed and allusive. But that's like saying Ty Cobb was not a very good sport -- irrelevant in comparison to the horrific fascination of his story.
Director Shelton is a master at locker room drama, and helped by a towering performance of snarling egomania and drug-fuelled bitterness from Jones, he tackles the dichotomies of [Cobb] with engaging enthusiasm.
Tommy Lee Jones is superb in the title role, but writer-director Ron Shelton unwisely chose to structure the film as a two-character piece, thus placing undue attention on the lackluster character of Cobb's biographer, Al Stump.