Four Minutes (2005), 90 minutes, ESPN
After Edmund Hillary conquered Everest in 1953 with Sherpa Tensing Norgay, the British asked themselves: what else is there left to conquer? That’s where a medical student and self-taught amateur runner, Roger Bannister stepped in.
To conquer the mile in four minutes: How outrageous can that idea be? And, to place all of Britain’s hopes onto the lanky frame of a med student! That premise and promise of a great thing, is the backdrop of this biopic that stays close to the title.
In many ways, this Charles Beeson film parallels American auteur-runner Steve Prefontaine’s biopic ‘Without Limits’ (Warner). Both films were written by highly respected sports-writers. Both films are no-frills, lower-budget, no-CGI, productions. In Four Minutes, there is only one documented race integrated into it, and interestingly it is not on Bannister. Nevertheless, the energy and excitement of the races, draws the viewer into the anxiety and hopefulness of mankind’s attempt to achieve the impossible.
The bonus features are the icing on the cake to this watchable movie. This DVD includes the original 1954 film of Bannister breaking the world record, outtakes, deleted scenes, behind the-scenes featurette, and interviews with Roger Bannister and Chris Chataway.
I hope that they do a film on Sir Sebastian Coe, who heads the London Olympic Games in 2012, soon. He was once the fastest miler in the world, too. There are some pleasant coincidences…