From the director of Evil Dead comes For Love of the Game, a baseball movie starring baseball "veteran" Kevin Costner. He's Billy Chapel, a worn out, forty-year old pitcher who's playing his last game, and who's also pitching a perfect game. For all of you who don't watch baseball, a perfect game is - wait, if you don't watch baseball, you won't be watching this movie.
As Kevin Costner plays through the game, retiring batter after batter after batter, he flashes back to his past, starting five years earlier where he met Jane (Kelly Preston). As the game progresses, so do the flashbacks, as he looks through the good and bad times of his relationship with her. Also, as he is pitching the perfect game, Jane is at the airport, ready to leave him for good and go to London. With this kind of film, transitions are essential, and Raimi pulls it off nicely. Using both sound and picture to shift from the present to the past, For Love of the Game looks relatively seamless. Good camera angles make for a comfortable approach to this rather subtle film, and Raimi draws in a nice approach as to how Costner drowns out the screaming fans.
There are a few things I would have done differently, however. While on the mound, Costner talks to himself, and sometimes you can't tell whether he is really talking to himself or if he is speaking to the batters and catcher. It would be much better if his thoughts were done as a voice over, and not visually spoken as in this movie. Second, the reason this film might not appeal to a lot of baseball fans is that it focuses so much on the up and down relationship between the two stars that the game is in a distant second. The main theme of the movie is the romance, but the game is still a crucial part, and, except for the final inning (which is extremely suspenseful), doesn't get shown that much.
For Love of the Game is a pretty good movie, but people looking for a pure baseball flick might be a little disappointed by this romantic drama.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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