|'in true Werner Herzog style, spends a long time gazing into the abyss and considering life, the universe and everything'|
Richard De Aragues's documentary - which purports to be about the Isle Of Man TT bike race but, in true Werner Herzog style, spends a long time gazing into the abyss and considering life, the universe and everything - develops from a slow start into one of the better documentaries of the year.
De Aragues's setup in TT3D: Closer To The Edge may be deliberate and mundane in its composition, but its purpose is vital. It is here that we learn who the Gladiators are, Gladiators who are about to do battle with stone cold, merciless, killers; roads, fences, stone walls, lampposts - all duelling and competing for their lives at upwards of one-hundred and eighty miles per hour.
The film uses every trick in the documentarian's hand book to keep you interested. It needn't have bothered. At the halfway point, De Aragues has you hooked. As riders flash round the track, occasionally disappearing for what feels like several minutes, your heart will be in your mouth and, occasionally, your tears upon your cheek. The use of time lapse, slow motion, HD ultra-motion, archive footage, still photographs, talking head interviews and Jared Leto voiceover help to break the regular documentary model but it is the director's structural solidity that makes TT3D such an exciting and awe-inspiring watch.
Technically, even without the 3D, this is also one of the best-looking Blu-rays currently on the market. The cinematography by Thomas Kürzl is outstanding and the fact that the entire package was obviously designed for high definition is noticeable.
Cold technical arguments, however, shouldn't be what win you over. TT3D is a fraught glimpse into the high-speed lives of those who admit to living 'on the edge' and, sadly, occasionally find themselves falling over it.
TT3D: Closer To The Edge is out on DVD, Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray in the UK on Monday 28th November 2011.
'very much about the human element and what drives the riders in their almost suicidal pursuit' - The Silver Screen