"It’s just a really fascinating documentary"

I’ve got to be honest – a documentary about Motorcycle Racing didn’t really appeal to me at first. I’ve never really been too interested in the sport, and it certainly wouldn’t have been enough of an attraction to warrant going to see this feature. However, as soon as the film finished; I just wanted to watch it over again.

T3D: Closer to the Edge is a documentary surrounding the Tourist Trophy race, which takes place annually on the Isle of Man, pitting the bravest Motorcycle Racers in the world against one another, as they all put their lives on the line in order to be crowned TT champion.

The documentary is narrated by Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream), with his calming American accent giving the film a touch of Hollywood about it, despite the fact it’s set in Britain. Early on in the film, having been introduced to a few of the racers participating in the 2010 event, Leto mentions that over the course of the documentary there will be various injuries, and sadly, one fatality. This very mention gives the film a degree of intensity and keeps the viewer watching intently. We know that by the time this documentary has finished, one of the racers participating will not make it out alive; and we don’t know which racer it will be.

It’s quite a distressing sensation in some ways, as it’s easy to forget when watching a film on the big screen that it is non-fictional. When you sit down in a cinema and put on a pair of 3D glasses, anything that takes place over the next couple of hours is in a fantasy movie land. But then you remember that this is a documentary, and that someone is really losing their life – and we’re going to follow it.

However, despite the anxiousness felt towards the racers and the worry about which of the racers may die; the film is also, and surprisingly, hilarious in parts. As it’s a documentary it obviously isn’t scripted so we rely on natural human idiosyncrasies and humour for comedy, and racer Guy Martin gives us this – to an incredible extent.

Guy, yet to win a TT race, is an engineer as well as a racer, and could well be a part-time comic if he so desired. His discussions straight to camera take away the sting of what it a quite hard-hitting documentary. The filmmaker (Richard De Aragues) simply struck lucky with Guy – as he made the documentary what it is. His odd sense of humour and inability to abide to any rules made him an instant favourite for the race and it added a sense of competition as you really wanted him to come out on top. His loveable personality certainly helped the feature in that regard as it made the TT race itself more enjoyable and appealing as you genuinely wanted to see Guy win for the first time. And despite feeling terrible for those whom injured themselves – you always prayed it wouldn’t be him.

As for the 3D element to the film - it actually benefited the film greatly, and, despite being a 3D cynic and uncomfortable in a huge pair of glasses when sitting in a cinema, it was an important element for the success of this particular feature. More often that not, 3D is used mainly for fictional films, and often for animations such as the more recent Pixar productions. However, they don’t really profit from 3D in any way. The animations are already animated, and the fictional action movies are already using a huge amount of special effects. But when watching a real-life documentary, of motor bikes racing around the streets of the Isle of Man at over 100mph, that’s when 3D becomes beneficial, as it’s taking real footage, and enhancing it. That’s impressive.

It’s just a really fascinating documentary. Don’t worry if you’re not into Motorcycle Racing, as you don’t need to be. I’m still unlikely to follow the sport, and my interest in it is still minimal at best, but Closer to the Edge is an enthralling study of character, nerves and bravery. It’s all about the people taking part and their desire to put their life at risk simply to say they won the TT race. That’s what it’s really about, and that’s why it’s definitely worth going to see.