Essentially a feature-length In Memoriam reel, this entertaining Formula One documentary thrills us with its whizzy editing while it traces the sport's deadly legacy. It took some 45 years after F1's inception in 1950 for proper safety guidelines to be implemented, so watching the parade of iconic drivers, living and dead, is often quite emotional. And the film tells this story with a pumping kinetic style.
Motor racing has a long history in Europe, becoming a proper sport with the birth of Formula One in 1950. But as car-building technology developed, the safety systems didn't keep pace. So drivers were racing at double the speed without up-to-date barriers, safety equipment and emergency procedures. Between 1968 and 1974 alone, the sport lost such iconic drivers as Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, Roger Williamson, Francois Cevert and Peter Revson in terrible crashes. Over the years the regulations were changed, but it wasn't until Ayerton Senna's shocking death in 1994 that the entire system was overhauled. And no driver has been killed in an F1 Grand Prix since.
In addition to Fassbender's enthusiastic narration, the line-up of on-screen interviewees is seriously impressive, with a collection of champions, team leaders, businessmen, journalists and others recounting their memories as the film presents a chronological history of the sport. Director-editor Crowder ramps everything up as he mixes archive film and stills with thundering music to get the adrenaline pumping. Many of these sequences generate a lot of vroom-vroom energy, even if the video trickery sometimes gets too flashy. Intriguingly, the film's most riveting segment is a single take with no edits, shot from Senna's helmet as he does a qualifying lap in Monaco.
Continue reading: 1: Life on the Limit Review
Dwayne Johnson tries to flex his acting muscles in this smarter-than-usual action movie, based on a true story that gets under our skin. He's never played someone as fragile as this, which is fascinating even if the film ultimately can't resist cranking up the action while turning rather preachy.
Johnson plays John, a construction company owner whose bright 18-year-old son Jason (Gavron) is caught in a drugs sting by an undercover agent (Pepper). Jason is facing 10 years in prison, and offered a way out if he can finger another drug dealer. But he doesn't know any, since he was set up himself. So John makes a deal with a federal prosecutor (Sarandon) to find a big dealer himself. He convinces reluctant ex-con employee Daniel (Bernthal) to work with him, contacting a local dealer (Williams) before going after the kingpin (Bratt). But of course things get increasingly dangerous the deeper they go.
While Johnson's acting chops aren't terribly subtle, he's such a charismatic screen presence that we are fully engaged with him from the start. The tender scenes between him and Gavron add weight to the whole story, while the tetchy connection between him and Bernthal keeps the film on a knife edge. By contrast, Sarandon and Pepper are pretty much just scene-stealing sharks using innocent people to do their dirty work.
Continue reading: Snitch Review
Nigel Sinclair, Martin Scorsese and Olivia Harrison - Nigel Sinclair, Olivia Harrison and Martin Scorsese New York City, USA - HBO documentary screening of 'George Harrison: Living in the Material World' at Alice Tully Hall Tuesday 4th October 2011