If you are missing your fix of Olympic action then the timely release of award winning (3 Hours) Regan Hall's debut feature film Fast Girls could be right up your street. Cashing in on the feel good factor still lingering from the summer chances, this film will makes its way into more homes than it might have otherwise done thus generating a whole new audience.
Unable to use the words 'Olympics' and '2012' they've been replaced with 'World Athletics Championships'. The somewhat predictable story begins with the central character and natural athlete Shania (Lenora Crichlow, Being Human) waking early to train on a dodgy race track with shopkeeper-come-coach Brian (Phil Davis, Silk) who it's nice to see in a rather less sinister role than he's been portraying of late. The story then follows the winning, the jealousy, the losing, the fallout, the “If we work together we can win together” make-up and eventually the inevitable happy ending all moulded around a funky soundtrack and enough lip gloss to keep it all stuck together.
The plot is simple, predictable, full of clichés, and yet somehow likeable enough to keep you watching until the last race. A take on the age old underdog story we've seen a million times before - Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Russell did it way back in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Egotistic girl from the wrong side of the tracks, in this case a council estate, meets girl from the right side of the tracks. Enter the rich Daddy's girl ( Lily James, Downton Abbey), an unnatural athlete living in Daddy's shadow. Both inevitably misunderstood and bought bang up to date with a strong British and beautiful female cast who offer more support than the sturdiest of running bras.
Yes you know what’s coming around that bend, but the acting and enthusiasm carries it. The cast are believable as athletes, probably due, as is explained in the bonus features, to the fact that they trained as professionals for six weeks before filming with real athletes, including sprinting, weights, hill runs and up to 800 sit-ups a day. They trained so hard in fact that the result was Crichlow somehow completing filming with stress fractures in both ankles.
It aims to be a modern day Chariots of Dire with attitude, yet the result is more comparable to Bend it like Beckham - which is no bad thing for today's audience. It’s not deep but it’s a fine example of girl power, one scene shows the girls kicking off their heels and outrunning the bad boys on a night out. And it certainly makes a change from a lot of the shoot-em up films that do the rounds so much.
There is certainly feel good factor in abundance. View it as a film or as an inspiration to motivate yourself - I very nearly moved from the sofa at one point. Either way, as Cool Runnings did for bobsleigh, Billy Elliot did for ballet, Fast Girls could do for running and Team GB and it can happily sit amongst the aforementioned films as sporting gold. So get your flags back out, the race ain't over until you've seen the Fast Girls in action.
Fast Girls is released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 8 October.
Fast Girls official website