I, Tonya

‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Dire Straits, ‘The Passenger’ as covered by Siouxsie and the Banshees,  ‘Goodbye Stranger’ by Supertramp, ‘The Chain’ by Fleetwood Mac, ‘Gloria’ by Laura Branigan – the soundtrack does a lot of the work in I, Tonya (2017). We tap our feet through the Scorsese-lite set-pieces, as the biopic leaps between sports film, crime caper and violent family drama. The Olympic wunderkind Tonya Harding bears the brunt of this violence; it comes from her mother, who bullies her, and her husband, who beats her. Their brutal encounters are captured with the same tracking shots and whip-pans that director Craig Gillespie uses for the ice-skating showdowns. Perhaps he is making a point about the unity of violence – symbolic, psychological, bodily – that Harding experienced during her tragically short career. But it all gets lost in the mannered storytelling. Violence is supposed to be a theme of I, Tonya; by the time we reach the blood-soaked epilogue, it is little more than a style.