MOVIE REVIEW: Million Dollar Arm
Million dollar Arm – Out now in cinemas
By Staff Reporter
Million Dollar Arm; the fantasy family film has been receiving rave reviews from celebs and critics alike. The film, which released on the 29 August, has been described as an “Inspiring film” by presenter Tasmin Lucia Khan and a “Bit of a tear-jerker” by actress Laila Rouass.
Starring Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Madhur Mittal (Slumdog Millionaire) and Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi) the film is a true story about struggling US sports agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) who travels to India in a last ditch effort to save his career by finding a young cricketer to turn into a major sports star. With the help of a cantankerous retired talent scout (Alan Arkin), JB sets up a national contest called “The Million Dollar Arm” and discovers Rinku (played by Life of Pi‘s Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh (Slumdog Millionaire’s Madhur Mittal), two 18-year-old boys who have a knack for throwing a fastball.
Hoping to make a quick buck he brings them to LA to train, however the boys, who have never left their rural villages before, struggle as they try to adjust to their new life and cope with the pressure being heaped on them. His livelihood on the line and relationship with the boys at stake, with the help of his friend Brenda (Lake Bell) JB realises that family and friendships are more important than sealing the deal.
As the movie is based around sports and Indian and American culture, the film starts well with the scenes of JB comapring cricket and baseball, where cricket obviously is a hugely popular sport in India and baseball in America. India is portrayed as chaotic and full of mystics. It’s a country in which the cars never stop honking and all business deals are oiled through back-handers. The big city America in which JB lives is a glossy, superficial place, full of money, car and sex-obsessed narcissists – like JB himself. The Indian characters spend their spare time meditating and burning incense. The Americans go to hedonistic parties to drink and take drugs.
For you Bollywood buffs remember the scene in Yaraana (1981) where Amitabh Bachchan has never been in a lift before, well 23 years later, we see a similar scene in Million Dollar Arm where Rinku and Dinesh first arrive in the US, and it seems the pair have never been in a lift before.
Some wonderful and light moments of JB being baffled by the Indian culture. Yet, many may still feel the plot to be a little far fetched, despite it actually being based on a true story. There really was a Million Dollar Arm contest set up in India through which two rookies, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, were chosen to come to the US to pursue baseball careers.
As a sports movie, the Disney-produced Million Dollar Arm is thoroughly predictable, covering all the usual bases before delivering the heartwarming home run-style finale. The film’s fascination lies in what it reveals about Hollywood’s confused and contradictory attitude towards India. On the whole a simple feel good film. 3/5