Review by Camden Ferrell
Reggie Jackson is an icon in the sport of baseball. With his signature glasses and mustache, people would be remiss not to include Mr. October in a comprehensive history of America’s pastime. Reggie is a new documentary that details the career of Reggie Jackson and the struggles he has faced in his expansive time in baseball. This is a very informative movie that will reveal interesting things about Jackson that even major baseball fans might not know. However, the movie sometimes suffers from a lack of a clear vision that doesn’t know what it’s trying to say.
Reggie Jackson is an outfielder whose career started in 1967 and ended in 1987. In those two decades, he cemented his legacy as one of baseball’s greats. His story is also an interesting one due to the period in which he came to prominence. Beginning on the edge of the Civil Rights Movement, this movie is able to explore the nuances that came with being an athlete in turbulent times. He’s an interesting figure to examine, and he serves as a documentary subject with a lot of material.
The movie does one thing that many great documentaries do: it informs. This is as close to comprehensive as one can get to telling the story of Reggie Jackson and his rise to stardom. It feels like no detail is spared, and we are given a look into all of the major events of his career, what caused them, and what happened as a result. It does so without being exhausting which is the one danger of constantly delivering information and background in a documentary.
Jackson is also an interesting person even today. Currently working for the Astros, he is still a delight to watch on screen. His talking head interviews are insightful and entertaining. He is joined by other sports legends who help deliver commentary on their careers and the intermingling of sports and politics throughout their careers.
While great things are happening in this movie, the biggest flaw is its lack of focus. It begins by focusing strongly on the political landscape of the U.S. and how Black athletes navigated this period. It was fascinating to hear about all of the nuances they faced and how they tie their experiences into the many injustices faced by Americans today.
Unfortunately, the movie quickly shifts its focus onto Jackson’s career, seemingly abandoning all of its political commentary. It feels unfocused and abrupt, and it’s a tonal shift that could have benefitted from a more subtle or gradual transition. It feels like this flaw undermines both its political message and its exploration of Jackson’s career.
Reggie will be a great time for any and all baseball fans, but it’s still far from perfect. At 104 minutes, it can sometimes feel a little too informative, but it just feels unsure of what it wants to say as a film. Jackson had many strong opinions about the status of Black people in professional sports as well as in American society, but this gets muddled in the final execution of the movie.
Reggie is streaming on Amazon Prime March 24.