Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

A troubled British youth (Tom Courtenay) from a low-income family with a terminally sick father at home finds solace in his lengthy runs. When he is sent to a reformatory following his participation in a petty robbery, he is quickly placed on a pedestal by the warden for his considerable athletic skilled, and charged to lead the prison's cross country team--a position which serves as a conduit for a major act of defiance. "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" is an Angry Young Man film from the British New Wave of filmmaking from the early 1960s. Based on a short story Alan Sillitoe who also wrote the screenplay, it is directed with delicate realism by Tony Richardson and invested with empathy by Courtenay. Also, the ending is an unexpected, perfectly realized kick to the gut.