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Fast-Paised review: 'The Flying Scotsman'

Graeme Obree (Jonny Lee Miller) strives to break cycling records while struggling to ignore his depression. His manager (Billy Boyd) and wife (Anne Fraser) try to keep him from harming himself, on or off the bike.

Big question: Can "The Flying Scotsman" make a compelling movie out of this true story--even though no biker's tale may ever be as powerful as Lance Armstrong's?

Skip it: The movie sails past the juicy stuff behind Obree's growing anxiety and his determination to break records. The cycling sequences also aren't shot with a much-needed sense of time, so our only recognition for Obree's success or failure comes from the reactions of his friends. Fun for them, not for us.

Catch it: If you want a reminder that men of the cloth are real people too. Obree's priest friend (Brian Cox) isn't too holy to sneak a portable TV on to the pulpit!

Bottom line: Apparently, Obree's self-worth relied on becoming part of riding history just because bullies picked on him as a kid. Beyond that, "The Flying Scotsman" never really reveals what makes this cyclist's wheels turn.

Bonus: Need help getting up for work? Obree has a foolproof wake-up system: "No alarm clock like a full bladder."

Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.

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'The Flying Scotsman'

Directed by Douglas Mackinnon; screenplay by John Brown, Declan Hughes, Simon Rose; photographed by Gavin Finney; edited by Colin Monie; music by Martin Phipps; production design by Mike Gunn; produced by Peter Broughan, Peter Gallagher and Sara Giles. A Metro Goldwyn Mayer release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:36. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for some mature thematic elements and strong language).

Graeme Obree - Jonny Lee Miller

Anne Obree - Laura Fraser

Malky - Billy Boyd

Douglas Baxter - Brian Cox

Ernst Hagemann - Steven Berkoff

Adult gang leader - Niall Fulton

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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