TIFF 2022: Review of the greatest beer race


The Greatest Beer Run Ever is an easily digestible film set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Based on the 2017 novel of the same name, the story refuses to focus on the war itself, and instead focuses on the real-life exploits of John “Chickie” Donohue (played by Zac Efron in his prime) and his humorous mission to deliver beer to troops in Vietnam. Throughout the 126 minutes of the film, Chiki learns one important lesson: war is bad.

Before proceeding, it is important to address the elephant in the room. This “war drama” (which is more like a comedy about bros) is a continuation of Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book”, which, despite receiving the Academy Award for best film, still remains extremely controversial. Many have said that the 2018 drama, set in the 1960s and depicting the relationship between a black pianist and his Italian-American driver, perpetuates the narrative of a “white savior.” Shortly before the release of the film , The Root wrote: “This film feeds racism to white people with a spoon” and “the examples of racism in this film were moderate compared to the real racial terrorism that black people experienced then and continue to experience.” But in conclusion: “I’m not here to make excuses, I really liked it.” Indiewire also had some doubts, and he wrote: “the archetype of the ‘magical Negro’ is usually rooted in the ignorance of a white screenwriter about any genuine African-American experience,” and added that a more “honest” film could have been made about friendship.

In the film “The Greatest Beer Run,” which premiered on September 13, 2022 at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2022, Farrelly makes it clear that he wants to stay in the field of films for good health, but he has heard criticism from his successor. and corrects some mistakes as it exposes the role that the United States played in the victims of both American and Vietnamese citizens and soldiers. A well-thought-out scenario refuses to embellish these murders, and also addresses the conflict in the field of public relations between the media and the public, which remains incredibly relevant in the post-Trump era.

The audience meets Chicks for the first time in a New York bar. He has a mustache and lives at home with his pacifist sister and disappointed parents. The main character, having many opinions about the war, is not interested in serving in the military. Instead, he wants to down some beer (which he doesn’t pay for) and preach about his loyalty to the country and his friends abroad. After a drunken conversation, he decides he knows the best way to show his support: he’s going to bring some American beer to the troops in Vietnam. A Marine Corps veteran fills a gym bag with cans of foam drink and a few small items from community members and jumps onto a cargo ship bound for a war-torn country.

As the movie continues, Chicky gets into Vietnam, woos the international press and a few locals, and sneaks into several military bases, but what starts out as a fun adventure for an overly optimistic guy turns into a nightmare when he witnesses the ugliness. and the massacres that come with war. The next hour unfolds in a series of tumultuous events in the stomach with a little respite, because Chiki has to move around the combat zone with other soldiers and is poorly prepared for this. Along the way, he loses friends, momentum, and great hope.

Although “The Greatest Beer Run” doesn’t say much about the war, it refuses to show American propaganda—something that usually permeates this genre. Along with Efron’s best performance ever, the film also starred Russell Crowe as war photographer Arthur Coates, who eventually befriended Chickie, and Bill Murray as a colonel pouring beer in a New York pub.

Efron plays Chiki with a charming innocence that is destined to offend many viewers. He is short-sighted and open-hearted. As one of his friends put it, he has “a kind heart, but no brains.” (I mean, seriously, how dumb does a person have to be to think that delivering beer to an active combat zone is a good idea? Even his friends who fought in the war were annoyed by his arrival.)

At the beginning of the film, Chiki has an inspiring share of innocence, tragically killed by war, violence, poverty and other ugliness of the world (and this is right in his situation, since he refuses to see people brutally killed and still go home thinking, “Oh, it’s okay”), and will make his audience feel envious to live in a world that is not overshadowed by such despair.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever runs through muddy waters with meticulous precision and tells a story of laughter, tears and righteous anger. The film is equipped with a witty script and a solid production, as it shows the evolution of an ignorant, unselfish person and his slow understanding of what war really is.


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