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'The Flying Scotsman'

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The Flying Scotsman
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon
MGM
Opens May 4

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Barely a year after The World's Fastest Indian, we get The World's Fastest Schwinn? It's hard to keep Roger Donaldson's picaresque true-life tale about an eccentric New Zealand coot and his home-built motorbike totally out of mind while watching first-time director Douglas Mackinnon's true-life tale about . . . an eccentric Glasgow coot and his home-built racing cycle. Only whereas Donaldson's movie was all heart, Mackinnon's is pure hokum. It's not that the story of Graeme Obree (Jonny Lee Miller)—a former competitive cyclist who came out of self-imposed retirement in the 1990s to set a couple of world records—lacks for dramatic incident, but as rendered here, it has a terminal case of the cutes crossed with the labored earnestness of a disease-of-the-week melodrama. When Obree isn't busy being a maverick (inventing new riding positions that are subsequently banned by mean-spirited racing officials), he battles his manic depression. All that's missing is the PSA coda in which the cast appears on-screen, out of character, to say, "If you know someone who may be suffering from depression . . ."

 
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