Director Michael Ritchie's ongoing satirical spin on the American Dream is dressed up in quasi-documentary fashion in Downhill Racer. Robert Redford stars as an Olympic-grade skier, whose talent is matched only by his aloof self-involvement. As the cocksure Redford rises to the top of his class, he discards any emotional attachments that might impede his progress, ranging from girlfriends to his own father. When Redford finally attains his goal in life, the thrill of victory is an empty one indeed. The cold-bloodedness of Redford's character may have worked against Downhill Racer at the box office; on the other hand, Ritchie's similarly structured political satire The Candidate offered a "warmer" Redford -- but it, too, was a box-office disappointment.
by Hal Erickson synopsis