That was an excellent one.
Purely Joyful Movie!
Don't listen to the negative reviews
The acting in this movie is really good.
In the 1970's the BBC show Pot Black started to create some TV personalities like Ray Rearden and Dennis Taylor. Who would have thought that a program about two men taking turns to hit balls with sticks would be popular but it took off. Pretty soon the world championship snooker tournament was being televised. Millions of viewers proved they had the desire and stamina to watch games that lasted hours, interest in the players grew and the prize money rocketed.The Rack Pack documents snooker's rise in popularity and how it alternatively made and broke two people. It focuses on Alex Higgins and Steve Davis. We see one personality being created from almost a blank canvas. On the other hand we see a dynamic personality destroyed by inner demons, be repaired and then self destruct.In parts this film is funny, sad, informative and made me reflect on the need for identifiable personalities in sport. Do we need "bad" boys in our viewing before we really engage? At 88 minutes this film isn't as long as some snooker frames and is well worth your time.
The Rack Pack is more of a reminisce on the good old days of snooker in the 80s, than an informative look at it. While it's a great piece of entertainment, it does nothing to solve the problems snooker faces now, i.e, why there are so many clubs shutting down despite the top dogs claiming it's a global sport. To get snooker to the heights or, at least back to the glory days of 85 would be near impossible if there were more clubs and talent scouts around to nurture the next generation of talent. Sadly, for me, this film was just a piece of dotage on the past, a time that will never be recaptured unless something is done now to inject a bit of vigor into the game at grassroots level. A great watch, but a forgettable piece of drama that won't leave you craving to watch it again and again...For a detailed review, go to the NEWSHUB/Snooker: what do you learn from the Rack Pack...
Just before the start of the 1982 snooker world championship, Alex Higgins gave an interview to a newspaper. He criticised Steve Davis as staid and downplayed his own chances for the tournament. Davis as defending champion was knocked out in the first round and Higgins went on to win the tournament.Ten years earlier Higgins was the youngest world snooker champion, a bolt of lightning in a sport known to be slow and played by old men. My older brother used to rave about Higgins in the 1970s.Then again if you watch this film the only person that raved about Higgins were people who never met him or got to know him. Higgins was a drinker, drug taker, womaniser and a bona fide hell raiser. I think this film just showed us the edited highlights and a toned down version at that. There was a disgusting true incident where he threatened to send the paramilitary terrorists to sort out Dennis Taylor that was wisely excised from this film.Nerd Alert Warning: I saw Steve Davis when he made his snooker television début in Pot Black in 1978 where he played Fred Davis. I saw him do the first televised 147 break which was on ITV and hence not commentated by Ted Lowe as shown here. I even remember his chat show 'A frame with Davis.' Actually I am a fan of Steve Davis even though he is a Tory supporter.This drama made Davis out to be a lot more nerdy than he was at the time but I think it was just to add contrast to the characters. Barry Hearn as portrayed here was a lot more jovial than the hard headed businessman he is and you have to be ruthless if you enter the world of boxing promotion which Hearn did in the mid 1980s. I did think the actor playing Higgins was just too much of the caricature of the Higgins we know from the press and television although I was amazed by the potting skills of the actors or it might had been clever use of CGI.Of course there was a lot more shades of greys in real life back in the days when snooker took off in the 1980s. We just see Higgins and Jimmy White as the bad boys of snooker and the press were more interested in the rivalry between White and Davis who were the emerging new generation.Yet during the era many snooker players lived life to the hilt with booze, drugs and women. Even Cliff Thorburn shown here as dull and with a dodgy Canadian accent was exposed as a cocaine user.Still a celebration of a time when snooker was more than a load of old balls.
THE RACK PACK tells a straightforward tale by contrasting the life of clean-cut Steve Davis (Will Merrick) with that of maverick Alex Higgins (Luke Treadaway). Obsessed with snooker from an early age, Davis was taken up by manager Barry Hearn (Kevin Bishop) and transformed into a media personality. His trademark gestures on the snooker table was carefully studied; and he was encouraged to make jokes about his allegedly boring public persona. Success on the table only helped to increase his profile; throughout the Eighties he was always the man to beat.Higgins was the complete antithesis. A genius at the table, he led a wild private life dominated by drink. He had a family, with a long-suffering wife (Nichola Burley) and two children, but they eventually left him. He had plenty of money and spent the lot; in desperation he approached Hearn to manage him, but was abruptly refused. His star declined; by 1990 he had been eliminated in the first round of the World Snooker Championship.Brian Welsh's production tried to adopt an even-handed approach, but it was palpably clear that Higgins's story was dramatically more effective, thereby proving Barry Hearn's point that people respond to failure more enthusiastically than success. Luke Treadaway's performance was thoroughly creditable, combining relentless self- confidence with chronic insecurity. He needed the company of others, especially his practicing (and drinking) partner Jimmy White (James Bailey); when White signed up for Hearn, Higgins was left completely isolated.The only real criticism that can be leveled at this production was that it did not really take account the positive aspects of Higgins's life. He was certainly self-destructive, yet he also put snooker on the map as a televised sport. In the days of Ray Reardon and John Spencer the game was perceived as respectable yet rather staid, the kind of thing suitable for the BBC's POT BLACK yet not a ratings winner. Higgins's colorful personality helped to transform the game into a huge success during the Eighties, attracting viewing figures far in excess of mainstream sports such as soccer.Nonetheless, Welsh's production made a thoroughly competent job of recreating snooker's glory days, with its recreation of the Crucible Theatre and John Sessions's memorable impersonation of "Whispering" Ted Lowe's commentary interspersed with the BBC's original soundtrack.