Executive produced by college football quarterback turned minor league baseball player Tim Tebow, “Run the Race” wears its Christian faith as boldly on screen as the 2007 Heisman winner did on the field and off. Those who cheered him on will likely appreciate its openhearted approach, while others will see it as fumbling the ball on play after play.
Zach Truett (Tanner Stine) is the superstar running back for Bessemer High, with hopes of turning his touchdowns into a ticket out of town. After his mother’s death, he and his brother Dave (Evan Hofer) have to fend for themselves after their alcoholic father (Kristoffer Polaha) abandoned them, and a scholarship is their only way out. But an injury soon sidelines Zach, and devout Dave thinks he can both bring his wayward brother back to the church and catch the notice of college scouts with his speed on the track.
Written by director Chris Dowling as well as Jake McEntire and Jason Baumgardner, “Run the Race” lacks the specificity that would make it feel real to the audience. There’s scant detail around almost all its elements, including the sports the brothers play, the town they’re desperate to leave and the movie’s characters and their connections to each other.
The movie dashes between being remarkably unsubtle and leaving its audience to fill in wide gaps in the essential knowledge it leaves out. “Run the Race” is inconsistent all around, featuring solid work from cinematographer Kristopher Kimlin while sometimes including shots that make little sense to the story it’s telling.
In one instance, a long shot during an intimate moment distances the audience from the emotions we’re clearly meant to feel. Meanwhile, cuts in some pivotal scenes are so quick we’re left wondering if we blinked and missed something important.
Beyond its theme of the power of God’s love, “Run the Race” centers on the importance of forgiveness. Viewers who can overlook its flaws will find value in its message, but those outside its target demo will be unable to see beyond its cinematic sins.
‘Run the Race’
Rated: PG, for thematic content and some teen partying
Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Playing: In general release