Saturday, October 20, 2012

30 in 30 - Day 19: TT3D - Closer To The Edge

I learned tonight the ramifications of doing a project like this when you are away from home for the evening.  It can make for a late watch.

That said - it's Friday.  So why not.

The film up for viewing on the calendar today is another one that involves a sport I know nothing about.  Would I be educated, entertained, both or neither?

Let's find out together shall we.

Tonight's film - TT3D: Closer To The Edge

TT3D: Closer To The Edge (2011)
104 mins.
Rated: NR (but there is some profanity and some spectacular crash footage)

"A stunning film about the 2010 Isle Of Man Tourist Trophy, the world's most famous annual road racing event which transforms this beautiful small island into a bikers' paradise."  (source: official website)

Link to the film - I watched it online via youtube (but I will go on record and say that this is a film that should be watched on the big screen).

As I mentioned, I knew nothing of this event nor the sport....other than it's bikes that go fast.  But the fantastic point-of-view shot off the top of the film really gets a person thinking.

We meet our main "character" - racer Guy Martin.  I'll warn you, he's got a thick accent and talks really quick.  It took me a while to get comfortable with his speak.  He talks about his philosophies, desires and we jest get a good overall look at him as a person.

We also meet some of the other key racers.  John McGuinness who holds the record of "King Of The Mountain" and the speed record on the track.  Ian Hutchinson, Michael Dunlop (who has a pretty amazing story coming from a family who was deep in the sport) and Connor Cummings.  These guys will take us through to the end of the doc (along with other bit players), but it is Guy who is the focus of the film.

We get a bit of a history lesson (very little narration in this film) and learn that this event has been going on since 1907.  Speed has been at the forefront since day one.  A 37.75 mile public course is the test these riders will take - considered the toughest in the world.  It occurs just once a year and many people push them selves to the ultimate limits.  Reaching speeds of 200 mph, there is a tremendously fine line between life and death - literally.

231 racers have died on this course (something all the riders are fully aware of).  And with no decent prize money up for grabs, this is essentially for bragging rights.

Most of the crashes occur because of mechanical failure.  These bikes are pushed to their limits and when something goes wrong, there is almost no time to react.  It's a matter of "are you lucky enough".

The first half of the film got me a little antsy.  We meet the riders with 6 weeks to go before the TT.  There is little racing footage and more building of the characters and story.  We get into a lot of the riders thoughts about the race and their reactions to the planning and situations leading up to the Isle of Man.

Of course, just as I'm looking at my watch, there's a pretty spectacular montage of crashes.  It's easy to see how there have been so many deaths on the track.  Blinding speed - literally.

We get to the race....or should I say races.  There are 5 races which make up this Isle of Man TT.

In race 1, Guy Martin is penalized and ends up dropping off the podium.  Bitter about the ruling, Guy is in a "pissy" mood.  Race 2 and he rebounds placing 2nd, but his cooperation after the event (or lack thereof) is an indication of his thoughts towards the officials for what happened the day before.

Race 3 is briefly covered, but of note - Ian Hutchinson has won all 3 races so far.  While there has been a person to win 4 out of 5, nobody has run the gauntlet.

Race 4 again belongs to Hutchinson, but there is a sombre tone to the day.  A death has occurred on the course.  We hear from the rider's wife who is amazingly strong during this time.  She knows that her husband was doing what he loved to do and realized the risks.  The impact of the death is throughout the riding community there.

Race 5, the big one, arrives.  I won't ruin it for anyone who wants to watch the film, but I'll say it's a pretty spectacular ending.  There are some tremendous shots and footage captured.  The movie has drawn me in.  I was skeptical at about the halfway mark, but it just kept getting better and better.

We catch up with a few of the riders after the Isle of Man to see how they are doing.  No question, they will be returning to tackle the roads there again the next year.

A definite slow start to this movie.  I found Guy Martin to be more irritating than an actual "athlete".  But I learned throughout the doc that he has talent - lots of it.  In a nutshell....these guys are crazy for doing what they do, but they have to find that absolute edge of the boundary - the limit - and they have.

Some great footage and scenery really make up for the frustrating jumble of a first half to the film.  I might give this one another go down the road - but on dvd (or even blu-ray).  Seeing some pristine quality footage would amp the visuals up even more.

Some decent pace at times and an overall good flow to the film makes me lean towards more pros than cons (although there are a few of those).

3 out of 5

Here are some other reviews I found online for the film...

Rotten Tomatoes

The Guardian

Top Gear

Up next - King Of The Hill


  1. Just finished watching this one. Incredible footage. Beautifully shot. Great story. I've always loved motorcycles, but have never watched race all the way through. I may now. I watched it on my tablet and it looked spectacular, so yes, checking it out on the big screen with a blu-ray is a must if you have that option. Obviously I really, really enjoyed it. The only small issue I had was with Jared Leto's voicing. I really liked it for the most part, but on a few occasions it stood out as just a bit off...didn't have enough emphasis or something. Small issue though. 4.5/5

    1. The second half is a 4.5 to me. The first half didn't quite do it.

      There are some other titles...Faster I think is one.

      iTunes has a few listed. Check em' out.

  2. I'm checking out 'Racing Dreams' next.