Cast: Samuel L Jackson, Rob Brown, Robert Ri’chard
Director: Thomas Carter
Certificate: US 2004, Cert 12A, rt 136 mins,
Based on a true story, Coach Carter is about a school basketball coach who turns around the fortunes of a city school basketball team turning them into winners only to close the gym when the boys’ studies fall behind. Its a role tailor-made for Jackson since it suits his ability for tough talk when it matters.
Carter arrives on the scene with a team who are the laughing stock of the league. Then imagine Jose Mourinho as a basketball coach and you’d not be far off. Carter sets up a strong set of rules that the boys must abide by, that includes wearing a jacket and tie to games, doing well in other classes and sitting in the front row, always turning up promptly for training etc. Anyone who crosses him gets physical penalties that are gruelling but help them all to be fitter.
Since its based on a true story, you can’t question what happens, its not a Hollywood rag to riches story for instance. The basketball scenes are also well shot, creating admirable tension as you watch the team play and root for them in tense matches. Yes its all about the American dream and some will feel it follows a familiar pattern but it doesn’t follow it to the letter and as a sports movie about motivational techniques and conduct on and off the court, it has much to recommend it.