Excited for the Olympics? This one's for you
Two girls from wildly different backgrounds become rivals as they both represent Great Britain at the World Athletic Championships in London. But when they both gain a place on the relay squad, can they put their rivalries aside to be in with a chance at the gold? Fast Girls owes its existence to the upcoming Olympic Games in London this summer. Although copyright issues, and the fact that the film couldn’t hope to recreate the scale of the real games, mean that it can’t be directly referenced, leaving us with vague placeholders used to sell the idea of a global sporting event.It may be a somewhat callous move to drum up interest in a low budget sports movie but Fast Girls goes the extra mile by actually being a perfectly watchable, if wholly generic, affair.
Young Shania Andrews (Lenora Crichlow) is from the wrong side of the tracks, forced to train at a disused track with the help of shopkeeper Brian (Philip Davis) before returning to her grey tower block home. She’s the definition of the underdog but golly gosh does she have guts, powering through the qualifiers and earning her place on the national squad.
By contrast, Lisa Temple (Lily James) comes from a plush home and wears all the right designer gear, with a supportive mum and an intensive training regime. But the film at least mixing things up a little by lumping Temple with a dick of a dad in the form of Rupert Graves – a previous medal winner who pushes his daughter to achieve.
The rivalry that forms between the two girls is less than organic and mainly seems to be a way to build drama into an extremely familiar premise. Still, it gives the film a reason to linger not only on their own 200 meter events but also adds some complications to the attempt to get them to work as a team.
First time feature (and long time commercial) director Regan Hall has certainly seen a sports movie or two and has taken one main lesson away with him – slow motion. Every moment of the numerous races in Fast Girls is presented at a fraction of normal speed, while there’s an odd obsession with framing ladies belly buttons on screen. In truth, the direction and camerawork are more than competent, aided by some suitably dynamic, though hardly original, editing by Lewis Albrow. The dramatic moments are less successful, with events occurring more because the script said so than due to any natural momentum in the scenes.
The cast is also just fine, with Crichlow (who you might recognise from Being Human) carrying much of the meagre weight of the film and handling it without breaking a sweat. Lily James never really accounts for why her character is so bitchy and the rest of the team are barely more than stereotypes but it’s serviceable. And, for those interested, there are plenty of shots of athletic women wearing figure hugging spandex. Oh and co-writer Noel Clarke is in this as well. Isn’t he everywhere these days?Fast Girls is a perfectly acceptable sports movie which follows the rules of the genre to a fairly inspiring finale. The scale sometimes feels a little constrained by its relatively low budget, which mutes the bigger moments, but it’s a watchable production and should appeal to audiences prepped for the Olympics.
There’s little doubt that