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David C. Johnson
Eriq La Salle,
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As an avid cricket fan, I am constantly puzzled and dismayed by the negative depiction of the sport on the big screen. Sadly, "Playing Away" is no exception.
A group of West Indian cricketers from inner city London are invited to participate in a charity match against a village team from rural Suffolk.
So far so good. But rather than portraying cricket as a potent social glue, the director instead chooses to use the game as a source of anger and bigotry. Throwing in some predictable racial stereotypes for good measure.
Indeed, the only time that black and white appear to reach an "understanding" is illustrated in a particularly tacky scene when one of the visiting players has sex with a local girl in the village churchyard.
"Playing Away" was released at a time in the eighties, when British movie makers felt compelled to "educate" their audiences about perceived social injustices rather than just try and actually entertain them.
Little wonder then, that UK cinema goers preferred watching Bruce Willis blowing up a fleet of jumbo jets in a vest as opposed to this moralistic claptrap.
I for one cannot blame them.
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