Review: Fast Girls (2012)

With only weeks to go until the London Olympic Games UK movie ‘Fast Girls’ settles into the starting blocks to tell the story of a young sporting hopeful looking to make it big on the track.

Directed by award-winning young filmmaker Regan Hall (3 Hours) and produced by Damian Jones (The Iron Lady, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll), ‘Fast Girls’ was co-scripted by Noel Clarke and I was lucky enough to attend an exclusive screening in Soho…

Set upon an Olympic ready urban backdrop UK flick ‘Fast Girls’ follows the life of sprinter Shania as she attempts to fulfill her dream to become a professional athlete. Played by Being Human’s Lenora Crichlow, the track star balances a turbulent personal life and professional challenges as she joins a new team in order to qualify for a major athletics championship.

‘Kidulthood’ and ‘Adulthood’ mastermind Noel Clarke appears as Coach Tommy alongside a handful of sparky British talent including Rupert Graves, Bradley James and Lily James who plays the controlled and ambitious Lisa.

The classic underdog story arc that dominates the movies first half is well written and delivered by Crichlow, who we immediately root for as she trains with her father figure grassroots coach Brian (played warmly by Philip Davis) and his dog Linford.

Crichlow plays Shania Andrews effortlessly as she battles homelessness and other aspects of a world far, far away from her wealthier sporting nemesis Lisa Temple who dismisses any chances of camaraderie early on in the movie with a simple; “I didn’t come here to make friends.”

The on screen talent continues to charm as Andrews is introduced to Coach Tommy’s eager female relay squad, maybe made more poignant after the success of the GB team’s 4×400 woman’s relay team at the 14th IAAF World Indoor Championships earlier this year.

It was interesting to glimpse the kind of grueling training regimes and backstage drama that our athletes will have to endure in the build up to the London Olympics in the summer. Putting aside the film’s lengthy training montages and (mostly believable) race footage, newcomer Lashana Lynch provides some genuine comedy highlights and Bradley James is subtle has Shania’s love interest Carl.

However the development of the emotional bonds that litter and drive the film is what’s sacrificed at the expense of covering the team’s crucial sporting progression.

This becomes more evident has the film closes – the balance between the character development ‘Fast Girls’ craves and the on-track activity should’ve been revised or maybe the film could have clocked in a time longer than it’s 91 minutes.

Although all the ingredients are there, this movie would’ve really benefited from exploring Shania’s relationship with her sister and Carl a little further – even Lisa with her parents – but they were not and so everything felt somewhat compacted and rushed towards the end and the result is that you don’t buy or care for the previously mentioned romance – some scenes genuinely play out like an quick update of a very exciting previous episode of a TV show.

Nevertheless, Noel Clarke hashes out a solid performance and Chichlow remains relatable, even a little inspiring right up until the end. Lily James evolution was a pleasing to watch and the film’s adrenalin fueled soundtrack should be enough to get even the biggest couch potato’s up and out on their feet.

3/5

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