The Flying Scotsman

Rated PG-13 96 minutes 2007

Barely a year after The World's Fastest Indian, we get The World's Fastest Schwinn? Well, not exactly, but it's hard to keep Roger Donaldson's picaresque true-life tale about an eccentric New Zealand coot and his home-built motorbike totally out of mind while watching first-time director Douglas Mackinnon's true-life tale about . . . an eccentric Glasgow coot and his home-built racing cycle. Only, whereas Donaldson's movie was all heart, Mackinnon's is pure hokum. It's not that the story of Graeme Obree (Jonny Lee Miller) -- a former competitive cyclist who came out of self-imposed retirement in the 1990s to set a couple of world speed and distance records -- lacks for dramatic incident, but as rendered by Mackinnon and the screenwriters, it has a terminal case of the cutes crossed with the labored earnestness of a disease-of-the-week melodrama. When Obree isn't busy being a maverick (inventing new riding positions that are subsequently banned by mean-spirited racing officials), he battles the roller-coaster mood swings caused by his manic depression (which the movie never names outright). All that's missing is the PSA coda, in which the cast appears onscreen, out of character, to say, "If you know someone who may be suffering from depression . . ."

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Douglas MacKinnon

Writer: John Brown and Declan Hughes

Producer: Alan Kaplan

Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Laura Fraser, Billy Boyd, Morven Christie, Brian Cox, Nikolas Abs, Rab Affleck, Julie Austin, Grant Aylward and Steven Berkoff


The Flying Scotsman

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