Without Limits

I ran track and cross-country throughout high school. The name Steve Prefontaine was one everyone knew on the team after their first year. He was constantly in the running magazines our coach handed out to us. I even have a few posters from those magazines of him on my dorm wall right now. He may not have been the best runner, but he is defiantly the poster boy for running even now.

Steve Prefontaine was an amazing runner in his day who gained famed running at the University of Oregon in the 70s. He also ran in the Munich Olympics for the United States and died a young death. Running was becoming popular in the 70s and Prefontaine and his coach Bill Bowerman (co-founder of Nike Inc.) were a huge part of that boom. The movie Without Limits is essentially a biography of Prefontaine entering Oregon and running in the Olympics, ending with his death. The movie is told from Bowerman’s point of view (played by Donald Sutherland). I read somewhere that Bowerman and those associated with Pre gave their approval of the film so I assume a fair share of it is right based on that and what I do know of Pre.

I loved the movie, but if you haven’t noticed I’m its demographic. I’m a runner with knowledge of Pre as an idol. The movie does a great job at showing distance running and it doesn’t place Pre on some pedestal as a perfect god. Pre is shown to have his flaws and own issues. He’s human.

Billy Crudup did a phenomenal job playing Pre. I was surprised by how much he looks like him, which is something nifty about Crudup. I never notice him in movies because he always seems to play roles that aren’t him. He plays such diverse characters that require him to look physically different and portray himself in a unique way. I didn’t recognize him in Almost Famous back when I first saw it. It just shows how great he really is. Donald Sutherland is usually great and he does a nice job here as Bowerman. A nice mix between a hard-ass and mentor/father like figure. It would have nice if he had  been a bit more of a prick, but that aside Sutherland was great as is most of the supporting cast.

I have to go back to running again with the cast. They all look like runners. Tom cruise produced and initially wanted to star in the film. Personally Cruise runs funny so I’m glad he didn’t star in it. Crudup and the other cast members look like runners. They had nice to decent form from what I paid attention to. It’s actually one of those things I love watching in any movie. How an actor runs. A lot of them just look bizarre and have horrible form, but I suppose most people haven’t had a coach yell at them to carry themselves a certain way.

Defiantly a movie runners will want to see or other sports enthusiasts. There are a number of little jokes early on for those who know more about Pre. They make little side references to things like Bowerman and Nike or the famous “Stop Pre” campaign early on. If you know of them you get the joke, otherwise it’s just a retrospective “ahh” moment when you see the actual thing later. Even if you care for neither posts or running you should still watch the movie. It’s inspiring. In fact I’m probably going to go on a run right now.


Posted on June 30, 2011, in Movies. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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