Director Denzel Washington is careful not to stray too far from the inspirational, sports-movie formula that has served him well as an actor. Here, the competitions are between debate teams – specifically between that of a small black college in 1935 Texas and those of a series of much larger schools, eventually including Harvard. (Washington is on hand as the team’s rabble-rousing coach.) It’s all very uplifting in a Remember the Titans–Glory Road sort of way, yet what’s most notable is the current of seething anger bubbling under the surface. Especially in the scenes when he’s on screen, Washington allows the picture to let loose a few brief tirades about the era’s racial injustices. It’s enough to make you hope that one of these days he’ll forgo such conventional genre trappings and unleash his own Do the Right Thing.