With literally no discernable or interesting qualities about it, this Scottish golf biopic is about as interesting as watching paint dry
Growing up, many male members of my family played golf, with most of them still continuing to do so regularly. While I was never good enough to properly pick up the sport, I did pick up quite a few golf video-games that I still play to this day, primarily the “Hot Shots Golf” and “Tiger Woods PGA Tour games for PlayStation 2. While it’s certainly not the most exciting sport in the world, there’s something about golf that’s inherently interesting and magnetic about it. Going into “Tommy’s Honour,” I brought that interest into the film hoping that it would carry me through to the end with the little knowledge I had of the film when I bought a ticket, as films about golf are few and far between, I figured I would check it out.
And I soon learned why no one makes golf movies.
Thomas “Tommy” Morris, Jr. (Jack Lowden) is the son of Thomas Morris, Sr. (Peter Mullan), a caddy and groundskeeper for a prestigious Scottish golf course in the late 1860s. Tommy finds the job to be demeaning to his father and doesn’t wish to carry on the profession, but to make his own way as a professional golfer. As he showcases his skills to the locals, he soon becomes such an accomplished champion that he finds his way around the entire U.K as one of the best golfers of his time. Meanwhile, Tommy seeks to balance his unstable personal life and relationships while also handling his golf career.
Does “Tommy’s Honour” sound boring? Because it is. In fact, “Tommy’s Honour” might be the dullest movie I’ve ever had the privilege to see in a theater, though it’s far from the worst. In fact, “Tommy’s Honour” isn’t a completely atrocious film on its own merits, just an incredibly uninspired one. I would go so far to say that the film hit the jackpot in snagging Roadside Attractions as a distributor, because I can’t imagine the film going anywhere but on BBC America on a quiet Thursday night. The film has no discernable element about itself that even slightly sets it apart from the pack of biopics that hit the market in search of awards recognition each year. “Tommy’s Honour” is a cookie-cutter biopic through and through.
The performances in the film are fine, if very inconsistent. Both Lowden and Mullan have high and low periods of the film in which they go from the dramatically engaging to the level of ham one might expect from a television movie, which heads into the film’s second biggest issue. There is an inherent cheapness that pervades the film from start to finish in a way that director Jason Connery never seems to be able to work around. I place a bit of this blame onto the film’s screenplay, which plays up numerous biopic tropes without ever extrapolating into anything of unique or even of interesting value. Beyond that, the dialogue in the film stays roughly around the level of cheese that the film’s aesthetic would imply. The film seems to be shot on cheaper cameras with an uninspired eye that makes the film watchable, but borderline impossible to make it to the end without wanting to leave at least twice.
Typically, my reviews are roughly double the length of this one here, but this shortness only seeks to further explain how completely pedestrian and boring “Tommy’s Honour” actually is. The film is about as special as air and doesn’t seem to mind that it’s an incredibly derivative, uninteresting piece of cinema. Quality wise, it’s not horrible, but its cheapness and general hamminess surrounding the screenplay and cast make the film’s complete lack of anything of interest to say all the more unforgiving. The worst part is that the film doesn’t even handle its golf segments in any sort of interesting way like it could have been. Golf might not be the most exciting sport in the world, but if “Hot Shots Golf” can make it fast-paced, quirky and exciting in a silly video game, there’s no excuse why “Tommy’s Honour” couldn’t at least been engaging.
Directed by: Jason Connery
Starring: Peter Mullan, Jack Lowden, Olivia Lovibond, and Sam Neill.
Runtime: 117 minutes
Rating: PG for thematic elements, some suggestive content, language and smoking.
Now playing exclusively at Regal Park Terrace.
Gutta Percha Productions present, in association with Creative Scotland, Timeless Films and Wind Chill Media Group, “Tommy’s Honour”