Reviews: TRI

Raul reviews the new film, TRI. 

TRI is a new dramedy that attempts to take us into the world and the lives of the people that compete in triathlons, most of whom are doing it not to win but because of some personal reasons. The film is about Natalie, an ultrasound technician who decides to sign up for a triathlon after one of her cancer patients that organizes one suggests it. She is joined by her best friend and a group of interesting teammates who all have their own inspirations for competing, mostly involving cancer and its impact on their lives in some specific way.

This is truly a mixed bag of an almost screwball comedy and dialogue, sometimes heavy drama, and an attempt to show the world of triathletes. It’s like Hoosiers molded with a buddy comedy and a Lifetime drama. It has its moments where it is both good and totally awful. The humor is excellent in this and most of it comes from the best friend Skyler, who was played by Walker Hays.  She is relatively unknown, but I could see her appearing and performing well in larger budgeted comedies. Many of the dramatic scenes that take place inside are poorly done, often feeling daytime soapish or of Lifetime movie quality.

The cinematography is also a mix of looking great and then appearing completely amateurish. The outdoor training sequences and the scenes that were filmed at two actual events in Luray, Virginia and The Nation’s Triathlon in Washington D.C. are absolutely superb and look stunning at times. Most of the indoor scenes are completely the opposite and just have a low budget feel and quality to them.

Is that Gatorade? Do you know how unhealthy that crap is?

The filmmakers wanted to try and show the viewers everything that is involved in training and competing in a triathlon and the reasoning behind the desire to simply finish the race. This included showing the various equipment and costs that are involved, the amount of training required, and the physical and mental toll that this grueling race puts you through. The issue I had with this picture is that I felt that I never saw the true physical exertion and breakdown that happens to people in extreme events like this. They attempted to recreate it, but it was more of a lighthearted Hollywood version than something truly authentic. After recently watching a British documentary series where they put a group of men through actual British Special Air Service (SAS) new recruit training, this seemed fake and disingenuous compared to watching someone being put through true physical tolls that break you down both physically and mentally. The only authenticity of the competition that appears in this picture is actual NBC sports footage of Julie Moss in the 1982 Ironman Triathlon, in which she became severely dehydrated and staggered and crawled to the finish line.

Despite being somewhat formulaic and predictable, the comedy and terrific triathlon cinematography will most likely provide enough entertainment for an audience that is seeking the combination of a dramedy and a sports motion picture.

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-Raul Vantassle