The Flying Scotsman

Cycling, depression and Olympic gold
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Most sports and athletics films are turgid displays of victorious jingoism. When they’re not they tend to be known as Cool Runnings. Praise the lord, then, for Graeme Obree, a rare character in the world of sports for being, well, actually quite interesting. A record-breaking cyclist who designed and constructed his own racing bike, Obree’s achievements couldn’t hide his own bouts of severe depression and self-doubt.

It’s Obree’s inherent complexities that raise The Flying Scotsman above similar fare. It’s fascinating to see his contrasts between his highs and his lows, not to mention an individual that breaks the mould in a pursuit consisting of fairly identikit personalities.

Individual time trials aren’t the most exciting thing you’ll ever see on a big screen, but director Douglas Mackinnon does enough to make them functionally interesting. A couple of horrendously cheesy moments also weaken the film, but The Flying Scotsman remains a thoroughly watchable study of a modern day legend.

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