The Heart of the Game (12A)

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The Independent Culture

At several points during The Heart of the Game, we see the rotund coach of a high-school girl's basketball team bellowing from the sidelines: "Look in their eyes! Look in their eyes!" And it's funny every time.

The coach is Bill Resler, a tax-law professor who motivates his young charges with an entire jungle of animal metaphors, his favourite involving "killing and devouring the moose". If only some of his singlemindedness had rubbed off on the documentary's writer-director, Ward Serrill. He should have edited out most of the subplots, because it takes the film far too long to get to its other main character, Darnellia Russell, an inner-city girl in an uptown school. Once it homes in on her, though, The Heart of the Game raises its game, and becomes an irresistible story of teamwork and second chances. I'd nominate Brian Cox to play Resler in the feature film version.