"The Legend of Bagger Vance" is underwhelming. With Matt Damon, Will Smith, and Charlize Theron in the lead roles, you would assume that this film will blow your mind; however, it is important to note that this film came out in 2000 before Smith and Theron had established themselves as amazing dramatic actors in "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Monster" respectively. Their inexperience shows, though it makes room for a nice performance by character actor Bruce McGill to shine through. The saving grace from an acting standpoint is that this was Jack Lemmon's final role before his death. His narration is a fitting epilogue to his successful career. The main issue with the film is the story which is predictable and never really goes anywhere. The ending signals that the main character has experienced an important transformation but he is almost the same as he was before. On top of that, the love story is completely underdeveloped. It's a shame that the simplistic story could not match the grandeur of the film's cinematography and score. It is a visual marvel from the time lapse footage of clouds to the beautiful Savannah setting and the crowd fading away as Damon focuses on the hole. Most importantly, the camerawork creates a visual storytelling that helps us to track the progress of the golf match. Rachel Portman crafts a score that alternates between fun ragtime melodies and Thomas Newman-esque ethereal sounds. It effectively captures the Depression-era setting in conjunction with the mystical aspects of the story. The technical aspects almost make the film worth watching but there are many sports dramas that would be a better use of your time. Although I generally like films directed by Robert Redford, "The a Legend of Bagger Vance" is a fluke and should step aside for a quality mystical sports drama like "Field of Dreams."
[Pictured: It's a shame that the acting and story fail to match the visual beauty of the film]