TT3D: Closer To The Edge - Blu-ray Review

'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 K├╝rzl 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.

Look further...

'very much about the human element and what drives the riders in their almost suicidal pursuit' - The Silver Screen


  1. Ooooo some acknowlegement of my ' work '!! Thanks for that! This is a damn good doco and one of the best I've seen in some time. I just can't fathom why it was made in 3-D though. It didn't add anything to it at all.
    Like what you say it uses all the tricks in the book to get you hooked, but needed have bothered because so much of its visuals speak for itself.
    Am surprised that this hasn't cropped up elsewhere on blogosphere considering the quality of it. You and I are the only ones I know of who have reviewed it.

  2. Yes, I've not seen it featured in many places at all and its got no awards buzz, which is a shame because it does so many things well. Didn't miss the 3D at all. It's shot so well that it works perfectly in 2D, in HD. The story he gets going is just fantastic and the editing keeps you hooked. Loved it.

  3. Whilst on bikes have you seen Kiwi film The World's Fastest Indian? I reviwed it several days ago and like this I haven't seen it crop up anywhere else.
    It is a shame because it is a good example of a NZ made film, and whilst wildly inaccurate it is still a good story.

  4. I haven't no, is that the one with Anthony Hopkins? I remember it coming out and largely disappearing without a trace. I'd definitely give it a go at some point. I'll keep an eye out for it in the sales!

  5. This looks like a very interesting doc and you mentioning Herner Werzog's style alone is enough reason for me to watch this one! :)

  6. I'm confident you won't regret it, especially once you get past the slight stodge at the start and into the event proper, which is incredibly exciting. Let me know what you think.