Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Eight Men Out (1988)



Reviews and Comments

Eight Men Out is an attempt to tell the story of the 1919 Black Sox scandal in which the White Sox were hired by gamblers to throw the World Series. The result is something uncharacteristic of director John Sayles' work -- it's meandering and shallow. It's interesting, yes, but when all is said and done, what purpose is there in the film? The story is told, yet it seems very little is actually said. The movie takes no moral stance; worse, it does not present the issues for the viewer to consider. The characters are not developed beyond stereotypes, and what should be the most interesting confrontations are handled insufficiently -- sometimes even off-screen.

To the movie's credit, the method of its storytelling has admirable style. In spite of the fact that only the rudimentary elements of the story were being said, I enjoyed the film's leisurely pace and open-ended feel. This is typical of Sayles' work, and it is effective when used with more substantial stories. Alas, Eight Men Out only hints at the kind of substance a recreation of the Black Sox scandal might have had.