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Race review – Jesse Owens drama finishes out of the medals

This tale of Owens’ 1936 Berlin Olympics glory is slow around the track, dragging a tedious love plot, a rote coach-runner relationship and tone-deaf comparisons of America with genocidal Germany

Lace your shoes tightly and stretch those calves, because Race is an endurance test. At 134 minutes, very few of them taken at a sprint, director Stephen Hopkins’s telling of the Jesse Owens story goes in many circles before the African American track and field star can win those medals and score his PR win against the Nazis.

At first, everything’s by the numbers. Young Jesse (Stephan James) arrives at Ohio State University in 1933 and is confronted with racial bigotry. His coach, Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis), senses great raw talent, and that if he focuses and works hard Owens will be unstoppable. Snyder isn’t that warm and fuzzy, and Owens isn’t too keen on his methods, but once they start winning races they create a bond. Their eyes are on a very specific prize: the 1936 Olympic Games in (record scratch) Berlin.

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