The Express

Rob Brown (Stop-Loss) gives a graceful, understated performance as Ernie Davis, the astonishing Syracuse University running back who gave the civil rights movement a shot in the arm in 1961 when he became the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Dennis Quaid provides him with an excellent foil as barking coach Ben Schwartzwalder, director Gary Fleder (Kiss the Girls) does an end run around the genre's cliches, and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau plays with desaturated color and highlights for a rich period feel. With Charles S. Dutton and Darrin Dewitt Henson. PG, 128 min.

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