Atletu (The Athlete) (2009)
Average Rating: 4.8/10
Reviews Counted: 7
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 5
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Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 1
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The inspiring true story of an Olympic champion who is faced with a new challenge provides the basis for this drama from filmmakers Rasselas Lakew and Davey Frankel. Abebe Bikila (Rasselas Lakew) was a world-class distance runner from Ethiopia who became the first African to win a gold medal in the Olympics when he came in first in the Marathon during the 1960 games in Rome -- while running in his bare feet. Bikila then repeated the feat at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, making him the first marathon
There are perhaps two better films lurking within "Atletu," one a more straightforward documentary and the other a narrative biopic, but this hybrid falls flat.
This is an ambitious and brave project which, if it doesn't quite reach the heights it might, is still a worthwhile watch and bodes well for both filmmakers in future.
Told through reconstruction and archive footage, the story of Ethiopian marathon legend Abebe Bikila can't muster the drama it deserves.
The essential simplicity of this tale about a true hero is often very moving.
It's a blend of documentary and drama, but while the archive clips of Bikila's victories are thrilling, the performances are flat and the script tired.
You feel that Bikila's admittedly amazing story would've been better transmitted through straight documentary or straight drama, not an uneasy bowlderisation of both.
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