Friday, 2 March 2018

Review: I, Tonya - A unique and darkly comedic retelling of one of sports most sensational scandals

Based on true events, I, Tonya is the darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Although Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her doomed legacy will forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived, and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan.
A news story that dominated the media nearly 24 years ago, gets a highly original and compelling retelling, thanks to director Craig Gillespie, as the viewer is challenged at every turn as to what they previously believed is questioned and challenged by a film that drags you in, in it's own unique way and never ceases to amaze or entertain.
A documentary straight retelling of this infamous incident may have made for a presentable feature on what is a strange yet interesting period in sports history but director Gillespie thankfully takes a completley different route. Shot in the form of a "mockumentary" with the fourth wall constantly broken Gillsepie make use of dark satirical humour to make his point in a style that is not too dissimilar to the one employed by Scorcese in The Wolf of Wall Street.
To the director's credit whereas the film itself  has to deal with "the incident" does not completely revolve around it with the background to the main protagonists character being explored in rivetting detail.
Worthy of her place on the Oscar nomination list, Margot Robbie excels as the central character in this tale as she embraces Harding's character and encapsulates her spirit to perfection. More likely to rise victorious from awards season (having already won a Golden Globe and BAFTA) is Alisson Janney who plays Harding's monstrous mother  LaVona. Her performance is that of a classic villain and her fearless and cruel performance will rile even the most patient cinema viewer.
Aside from it's unique style, strong character performances and dark humour , I Tonya also delivers a scathing look at class politics, a view that it drives home quite successfully.
Overall, I, Tonya is a film that will shock, entertain, puzzle and laugh in all equal measure and is a unique piece of filmmaking worth viewing for the cast performances alone. Highly recommended!

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