Wednesday, 24 August 2011

TT3D: Movie Review

TT3D: Movie Review

Rating: 8/10
Cast: Guy Martin, a host of other TT racers, motorbikes, The Isle of Man
Director: Richard De Aragues
"There's nothing to compare it with."
How often have you heard that from anyone involved in any kind of extreme sport?
This latest sports doco looks at the legendary Isle of Man TT motorbike racing event; one which has been running for years and has claimed around 231 lives in spectacular crashes and yet doesn't see a drop off in willing participants.
De Aragues' film takes a look at the races of the 2010 event and in particular follows the tousled mop topped and lamb chopped racer, the Englishman Guy Martin, a fascinating and in some ways intimidating young character.
Martin is the classic loner - and also the classic self deprecator, full of Northern English charm and the kind of guy who'd call a spade a spade and that'd be that. When we first meet Martin, he's being interviewed in a garage pit repairing a truck - before he takes his bike out to hoon around to see what speed he needs for the upcoming race.
The following 100 minutes then chart the highs and lows of the race, The Isle of Man
Tourist Trophy described as "the greatest motorcycle road race in the world, the ultimate challenge for rider and machine."
But De Aragues has triumphed by making this film an edge of the seat, thrilling piece about freedom of choice, spirit and endurance.
Thankfully the 3D is non intrusive - it's not used to make you duck in the cinema when bikes come hurtling toward you, it's used subtly to bring depth to the proceedings and give you a feel for the event.
Sure, some of the sporting clich├ęs are there - phrases like "If it doesn't excite you, then you're not alive and that's a fact" sit alongside the likes of "it's like being able to fly" and slow mo shots of riders in action. But I'm prepared to forgive all of those because of how gripping this actually is right from the get go.
Eschewing charm and a straight talking style, Martin's an easy subject for De Aragues to follow - but it also gives the sport a face and grounds the competition in a humanity and warmth which make it feel universal, rather than just a speed freak's wet dream of a film.
Guy Martin is an enigmatic guy - often seen being interviewed with a mug of tea in hand and prone to sleeping in the back of his van and enjoying his own company before a race, he's something of a riddle but his no-nonsense attitude has won him a legion of fans - and this film is likely to cement that reputation as it provides a fascinating insight into not only his mindset but the rest of the racing fraternity.
I realised I was gripped when I was on tenterhooks and on the edge of my seat to see if one racer had made it out alive after a crash - it's here that De Aragues gets to the knub of what makes these riders tick because of one scene in a hospital where a rider lets down his guard and finally shows some vulnerability after an horrific crash - before a bit of the bravado came back. It's a brief but telling moment and one which spoke volumes about all of those who take part in this race.
Mashing archive footage and a candid look at one competitor, Guy Martin, this doco is simply hands down one of the best sports docos I've ever seen - packed with humour, tension, suspense and humanity - and believe me when I say that's praise coming from a non sports fan.

Quite simply unmissable.

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