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Without Limits (1998)

1 rating: 3.0
Action & Adventure and Sports movie directed by Robert Towne

Since audiences are inclined to F/X spectacle, it was easy to understand the 1998 box-office battle betweenArmageddonandDeep Impact, which shared almost exactly the same premise. But two films about the now-obscure long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine?Without … see full wiki

Tags: Movie
Director: Robert Towne
1 review about Without Limits (1998)

"It's the hardest thing in the world to believe in something, if you do it's a miracle."

  • Aug 27, 2007
WITHOUT LIMITS is a beautifully filmed biopic about the great American long distance runner Steve Prefontaine. The movie follows Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) from his high school days in Coos Bay, Oregon to his recruitment at the University of Oregon in Eugene by legendary track coach Bill Bowerman (Donald Sutherland). WITHOUT LIMITS focuses on the relationship between the track star and his legendary coach from their first meeting, through their years together preparing for the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Prefontaine's decline, and his gradual emergence as a powerful long distance contender and initial preparation for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. The movie also has a subplot about Prefontaine's relationship with Mary Marckx (Monica Potter).

The overall plotting of WITHOUT LIMITS follows the basic structure of a sports biopic and does a good job at telling the story. Steve Prefontaine lived an interesting life and anyone who is interested in learning more about the man would probably enjoy and benefit from watching the film. Yet, even though the movie follows the basic structure of a sports biopic, it is much better than most pictures in the genre for two reasons.

The first is the acting. Billy Crudup was cast as Prefontaine because of the similarities between himself and producer Tom Cruise. However, unlike Cruise, Crudup actually shows more than a semblance of acting talent. He actually has the goods. Monica Potter is adorable as Prefontaine's focal love interest in the movie, Mary Marckx. Matthew Lillard has a small but well-developed role as one of Prefontaine's running mates, Roscoe Devine. And last but not least is Donald Sutherland giving one of the finer performances in his career portraying legendary track coach and eventual Nike founder, Bill Bowerman.

The second thing that makes WITHOUT LIMITS stand out above other sport biopics is the cinematography. Prefontaine grew up in the beautiful state of Oregon. The filmmakers took advantage of that fact and filmed most of the location shots in Oregon. This allowed the spectacular scenery to make up for slow points in the story. For example, there are a few times in the movie where a scene is just a montage of Prefontaine running. The location and setting takes those shots and augments them from something ordinary into a pictured sequence of art.

WITHOUT LIMITS is a great film to watch if you enjoy running and or have an interest in Prefontaine. It's also a just a great movie in general.

The DVD only features some brief written tidbits about the cast and crew and a trailer.

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