One Week, Two Films

This week, I finally got round to seeing two films I’ve been thoroughly looking forward to since I first saw the trailers: Sucker Punch and TT3D Closer To The Edge.

The less that is said about Sucker Punch the better.  There are moments of sheer visual brilliance: the scene in the snow with the awesome ‘Army of Me’ by Bjork and the steampunk/zombie Nazi scene looked stunning.  But, ultimately, it’s like watching someone play a really good video game. There is no storyline to speak of, nobody even tries to act (Emily Browning looks hot but does nothing beyond pouting) and I got a bit bored towards the end.

(I wrote more about Sucker Punch than I’d planned.)

TT3D – a film about the annual road race on the Isle of Man and the people who race, manage, marshal and love it – is another thing altogether. When I was a kid, my mum and step-dad went off to the Isle of Man each year, their tent strapped to the back of their GSX-R. A couple of years, they marshalled. My house was adorned with framed photos of TT hero, Joey Dunlop. I’ve never been, but it’s on the list.

The film itself is wonderful. At times, genuinely funny – Guy Martin’s comment on Barry Sheen finding the race too dangerous got a huge laugh – the film doesn’t flinch from the loss that inevitably goes along with racing round the winding roads of the Isle of Man at breakneck speeds. I laughed, I cried and I loved every minute of it.

Guy Martin – the potty-mouthed, masturbation-fixated eccentric and enfant terrible of the TT world – steals the show. It’s easy to see why the film-makers focus on him but it’s a shame that, with the audience rooting for Guy, he sometimes overshadows the sheer achievement of other racers, including the quietly determined Ian Hutchinson. Still, he is hugely entertaining and the film would lose a certain something without him.

Whether or not the film would lose anything if it weren’t in 3D is a tough question. I’ve blogged before about how little I like 3D, but TT3D *almost* pulls it off.  The whole film is so beautifully, cleanly shot – particularly the climactic Senior race – and, when the 3D effect is used subtly, it works really well.  From time to time, though, it felt a little gimmicky and I’m still not sold.

Despite that, it’s a film I’d highly recommend. If you’re a bike fan, the footage of the racing is stunning and the insight in to the race preparations is fascinating. If you’ve never watched a bike race in your life, it is funny, exciting and moving enough to keep you engaged throughout.

People applauded at the end. I’m not kidding.