Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”
The hype is accurate: This is intelligent, rousing entertainment, the only adult film of the summer, and the first Oscar contender of the year. In fact, its biggest flaw is that it's a little too perfect, never reaching too far to become a work of art instead of merely being entertainment perfected. Chris Cooper is excellent, and the film buries itself very convincingly in the time period. There's little tension (the title of the movie isn't 'War Admiral'), but it's a sports movie, what can you expect? At its best moments (plural), the audience breaks out in applause.