The Flying Scotsman
Graeme Obree had a troubled childhood. Always being bullied at school and unable to stand up for himself, his parents gave him a bike for Christmas, in an attempt to cheer him up. Cheer him up it did, but it gave him something else, the ability to be faster than his bullies and escape their grip. The only trouble is, all he learnt was how to run from his problems, and his demons have been chasing him ever since.
An odd introduction to a movie about The Flying Scotsman you might think. Isn’t this supposed to be a story about Scotland’s greatest cyclist? That it is, but it’s also a story about a man whose battle with depression will last his entire life.
It’s a true underdog story, where the hero has a passion for cycling and a need to be the best, to try and prove to himself that he’s better that he thinks he is. To do it he has to buck convention and scribble outside the lines. Without the money or backing of a major sponsor, Graeme designs and constructs his own bike, raises enough funds to got to Norway and challenge the world record.
In the process of beating the world record he upsets the World Cycling Federation who start constructing rules to try and prohibit Graeme from winning on his unbranded home made bike.
Rising to meet every challenge, Obree consistently re-invents himself as the WCF re-invents the rules, managing to win numerous championships.
Of course, he wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything if it weren’t for fate bringing certain people across his path. One of them being Douglas Baxter, the local Churchman. Played by Brian Cox, this instantly lovable character helps encourage and guide Graeme without ever trying to get all-religious with him. Indeed, Baxter has one of the best lines in the movie; “Souls are God’s business, mine are people”. It’s an honest statement that we see carried out in his character through out the movie, and its one that shines a wonderful light on the true character of Christian ministry.
Of course, it takes more than one mane to make a legend, and our favourite hobbit Billy Boyd plays Malky, a friend who turns into his manger and helps temper his vision with a little reality, lots of encouragement and enough sense to let him do his own thing.
Then there’s his wife who knows of his inner demons and stays by him through thick and thin, never forcing him to do anything he doesn’t want, but waiting for the right time, when he asks for help to enable him to start dealing with his depression.
The Flying Scotsman is full of down to earth characters, who deal with real struggles, but have the determination and vision to overcome any hurdle put in there way. Its dramatic, compelling storyline will have you on the edge of your seat, whilst the reality of committed relationships will warm your heart.
A great story for the whole family to enjoy.
Food for thought
Douglas Baxter’s business was people, as such he used his ears more than he used his mouth.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Contains Offensive Language.
Duration: 96 mins.
Genre: Drama, Sports, Biography.
Actors: Brian Cox, Laura Fraser, Jonny Lee Miller, Billy Boyd.
Director: Douglas Mackinnon.
Release Date: Available Now.