The Express 2008

Critics score:
61 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Amy Nicholson, Boxoffice Magazine: Combines and surpasses both genres by virtue of its honest-to-gosh goodness. Read more

Ben Lyons, At the Movies: Football fan or not, definitely be sure to see it. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: The film does the job, in its conventional way. But it's geared to throw the prime screen time in the direction of the guy playing the guy coaching the guy who's supposed to be running the movie. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: The Express finesses a cinematic hat trick: It's entertaining, deeply moving and genuinely important. Read more

Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader: Director Gary Fleder does an end run around the genre's cliches, and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau plays with desaturated color and highlights for a rich period feel. Read more

John Hartl, Seattle Times: No matter what the very capable actors do to shake up the characters, they stubbornly remain types. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: The Express raises the following rhetorical question: Was Davis' life really that by-the-numbers bland or have the filmmakers airbrushed out all the prickly, complicated details? Read more

Randy Cordova, Arizona Republic: The Express tells the true story of college-football star Ernie Davis. It's such a naturally compelling tale that one wonders why it hasn't been filmed before. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: Aside from managing to get made at all, the movie doesn't do Davis's legacy any favors by giving us the store-brand version of his life. Read more

Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times: At times stirring, inspiring and thoughtful. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: The Express plays for our sympathy -- and wins. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: The Express may prove valuable to movie historians since it's a compendium of virtually every sports movie cliche ever contrived. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: The Express delivers visceral gridiron energy. Fleder and his crew capture the moments so many athletes refer to as 'being in the zone.' Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: The Express is a somewhat ordinary movie about an extraordinary life. Read more

Gregory Kirschling, Entertainment Weekly: Has Dennis Quaid really never played a college football coach before? With his handsome, craggy face and likable intensity, he was born for the job. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: Looking for a safe investment in this wildly sliding economy? Well, don't bother flipping to the ROB because here's a tip you can take to the bank: Buy shares in the Cliche Factory. Read more

Michael Granberry, Dallas Morning News: Davis is played winningly, without a single false note, by Rob Brown. His coach, the irascible but decent Ben Schwartzwalder, is brought home beautifully by Dennis Quaid, who has quietly become one of America's finest actors. Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: A far more intelligent movie than the ads might make it seem. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Sadly, however, this is all too familiar, which is something nobody could say about the real Ernie Davis. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: The movie might be a bit more interesting if Davis had more to him than simply graceful gumption and victimhood, and if the spaces around him could be filled with something. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Davis deserves to be remembered, but as professionally crafted as The Express is, the movie is an almost instantly forgettable version of his life. Read more

David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer: The Express eventually reaches its triumph-of-the-human-spirit climax, but it yanks too hard on the heart strings during the long journey there. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: While Ernie's on-field accomplishments were extraordinary, it was the environment in which he struggled to achieve them that makes him the worthy subject of a motion picture. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The Express is involving and inspiring in the way a good movie about sports almost always is. Read more

Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle: The player, coach and even the wise grandfather figure played by Charles S. Dutton have at least one more dimension than the typical sports-movie stereotypes. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Consider that a virtue in a movie content to teach familiar messages without overstating them. Read more

Hank Sartin, Time Out: We're not asking for another Brian's Song, but does Davis's tale have to seem like a rehash of Remember the Titans? Read more

Wally Hammond, Time Out: The sports-movie template is capable of absorbing any story and delivering the same uplift. Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: Despite appealing performances and kinetic football scenes, the storytelling is mostly conventional, except for two outstanding set pieces. Read more

John Anderson, Variety: Rob Brown's performance in the title role is solid and static, but Dennis Quaid's portrayal of coach Ben Schwartzwalder provides a convincing metaphor for a nation going through a crisis of conscience. Read more

Robert Wilonsky, Village Voice: Based on a Davis biography, Gary Fleder's account is a noble attempt at humanizing the myth, but it succumbs to the worst sorts of sports-movie cliches. Read more