TT3D: Closer to the Edge, 2011.
Directed by Richard De Aragues.
Narrated by Jared Leto.
A documentary covering the fast-paced action of the world famous Isle of Man TT.
The Isle of Man... a small island in the Irish sea, birthplace of the Bee Gees and home to the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy - the celebrated international motorcycle road race better known as the TT. For two weeks every year, legions of racing fans descend upon the Isle to watch as the world's best motorcycle racers chase their dream of becoming 'King of the Mountain' by gaining victory in what is regarded as one of the most prestigious - and dangerous - races in the sport, and its this quest for glory which is the subject of acclaimed commercials director Richard De Aragues' first feature - the documentary TT3D: Closer to the Edge.
As you’d expect from such a film, TT3D is packed to the brim with plenty of frenetic rubber-burning two-wheel racing action, which is bound to please fans of the sport. The viewer is thrown straight into the saddle as the competitors surge around the narrow, winding public roads with scant regard for their own safety, reaching breakneck speeds in excess of 200mph, each corner potentially being their last; prior to filming, no less than 231 riders had fallen victim to the TT since its inception in 1907 (which surely makes it one of the most sporting events since Roman times), while Paul Dobbs became the latest casualty during the 2010 meeting, with his widow providing one of the most touching aspects of the film as she reflects on the tragedy.
Along with plenty of wonderfully-captured racing footage, bike fans will also enjoy the wealth of archive footage from past events, along with input from professional riders such as Guy Martin, Ian Hutchinson, John McGuinness and Conor Cummins, and it’s this human aspect of the documentary that opens it up to a much wider audience. I’m not a particular fan of racing myself, but I was fascinated by the motivations of these daredevils and their carefree attitude towards an event that’s claimed the lives of so many of their friends and fellow competitors. The star of the show is undoubtedly Guy Martin, a charismatic, likeable and outspoken individual who adds a great deal of humour to proceedings and should go on to enjoy a much safer career as a television presenter, having already served as host of the BBC's The Boat That Guy Built and E4's awesome 2011 World Sheep Dog Trials.
Although TT3D was released in cinemas in 3D, only the Blu-ray release retains this format, with the DVD coming in the traditional 2D format (hence the new name TT: Closer to the Edge). Given that I'm not overly keen on 3D (nor do I have a 3D television), this wasn't too much of an issue for me, but naturally I can't comment on what the extra-dimension adds to the film (although D.J. Haza's review of the theatrical release indicates it was very little). Still, the DVD version delivers a strong package, with a wealth of extra features including several interviews and the additional feature documentary, Charge - The Electric TT, which explores the first ever zero-emissions road races on the Isle of Man in 2009 and 2010 and features narration from Ewan McGregor.
Overall, TT3D: Closer to the Edge is the ideal stocking filler for racing fans, and a compelling watch for everyone else.
Holy Franchise, Batman! - Coming 2012.