Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
John Cusack
Charlie Sheen
David Strathairn
D B Sweeney.
Directors
John Sayles.
Screenwriters
John Sayles.
Running Time
120 minutes

LATEST DVD REVIEWS
100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Gremlins
5 Star Empire Rating
Exorcist, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Romance
3 Star Empire Rating
Green Mile, The
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Gremlins
5 Star Empire Rating
Intolerance
5 Star Empire Rating
Spirited Away
5 Star Empire Rating
Thief Of Bagdad, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Killing Fields, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Eight Men Out
John Sayles' film about the throwing of the 1919 World Series


submit to reddit


Plot
In 1919, Eight ball players from the Chicago White Sox were approached by a gambling syndicate to throw the Series against the Cincinatti Reds. The terrible pay and harsh times contributed to the players decision to betray their game and fans.


Review
Of course, Eight Men Out was never going to achieve commercial success theatrically in the UK. Why? It's about baseball. And it's not a baseball movie in the guise of a romantic comedy, a heartwarming fantasy, a biopic in which the misfits pull off a miracle, or a male weepie. But if it was just about baseball, Sayles wouldn't have been interested either.

Specifically, Eight Men Out is a meticulously detailed period drama about the Black Sox scandal of 1919, when eight players from the Chicago White Sox, then the finest in the game, were tried on charges of conspiracy. They were accused of throwing the sport's premier championship event, the World Series. Events surrounding the affair not only brought the game into disrepute, they had a lasting impact on the business of professional sport.

Even if you couldn't care less about baseball, there is a fascinating story well told here. It represents a clash between athletes, big business interests and the media, adapted from the definitive book on the scandal by Eliot Asinof (who appears in the film as a team owner).

As conspiracies go it was a muddled, even farcical business. In 1919 a lot of big money was being placed on the imminent series, with the odds heavily on the Sox, the poorly paid team owned by skinflint Charles Comiskey (Clifton James). Two small-time Philadelphia gamblers (one played by Christopher Lloyd) approached a player (Michael Rooker) about tanking the best-of-nine-games series. These gamblers went to notorious New York 'financier' Arnold Rothstein (immortalised in The Great Gatsby and here played by Michael Lerner) to bankroll their con. Rothstein turned them down but made his own deal with Boston gambler 'Sport' Sullivan (Kevin Tighe).

So two sets of rival gamblers were negotiating with a couple of not-very-bright players. These in turn recruited team-mates, some of whom agreed to go along for a variety of reasons. Some never took any money and played well; others were oblivious to the scheme and watched in fury as they went down in humiliating defeat.

A legendary Chicago reporter himself, Studs Terkel plays pioneering sports writer Hugh Fullerton, and Sayles plays Fullertonís protégé Ring Lardner, to whom he actually bears a strong resemblance (Lardner, by the way, became a celebrated satirist and was the father of Ring Lardner Jr., Oscar-winning screenwriter of Woman Of The Year and M*A*S*H). Fullerton and Lardner sniffed something fishy, eventually pieced together the sorry story and broke the bad news to heartbroken fans.

For anyone who appreciates artistic integrity and is interested in genuinely independent films, the prolific and highly personal work of John Sayles is essential viewing.


Extras

Eight Men Out Eight Men Out
Released: 07 June 2004
None.


Verdict
Whilst this is meticulous and convincing look at that particular era and event, and whilst the dangers of “team spirit” and male camaraderie rarely been exposed with such sorrow, this sad tale is not really what box office winners are made of.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Review Of The Year: 10 Best Soundtracks Of 2014
The scores and OSTs to add to your playlist

Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Review Of 2014: The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year
Our favourite one-scene movie-stealers

8 Things You Can Learn From The BFI's Star Wars Exhibition
The original crawl, a 'grotesque' villain and a very different princess

Review Of The Year: 40 Worst Posters Of 2014
One-sheets that you'd rather not have on your wall

Hobbit Q&As: Ian McKellen On Finally Saying Goodbye And Farewell To Gandalf The Grey
Read our exclusive Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies interviews

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)