Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
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
Transcendence
2 Star Empire Rating
Locke
4 Star Empire Rating
Toxic Avenger, The
1 Star Empire Rating
Monster Club, The
3 Star Empire Rating
A New York Winter's Tale
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Ipcress File, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Jules Et Jim
5 Star Empire Rating
Nashville
5 Star Empire Rating
Hustler, 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.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Many Deaths Of Sean Bean
The actor talks us through his on-screen offings

Rogues Gallery: Powers Boothe
Sin City's Roark talks us through his most memorable baddies

Richard Attenborough: In Celebration
Saluting a man who made a lasting impact on cinema and beyond…

Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

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 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! 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  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)