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  Friday, Apr 25, 2014, 12:37:17 AM


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Faster
(NR, 103 min.)
Selected theaters

Thursday, October 21, 2004
Copyright © Las Vegas Mercury

Faster

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Lots of people will be bored by Faster.

Mark Neale's documentary, narrated by actor Ewan McGregor, isn't structured for maximum dramatic effect. But it throws you into the world of high-speed motorcross racing so thoroughly that it achieves its kick on its own terms.

Neale covers the Motorcycle Grand Prix five-continent world championship during the 2001 and 2002 seasons. It takes a while to figure out where we are and whose story we're supposed to be following. I recommend you just relax and let the film work on you. The confusion, the mounds of dialogue I couldn't at first understand, was part of the reason I eventually got sucked into the movie's energy.

The pumped-up levels of sound and soul are the reason these men--mostly young and nearly all at least once seriously injured--are drawn to what they do. The biggest question I had going into this movie was, what kind of idiot would risk his life for such a meaningless reason? And the film answered that for me. Even better, it convinced me these people are not idiots. They're disciples of the thrill of speed and the craft involved in conquering it. They're bored with the physical laws of the world, and this is the one way they can nearly escape.

We're introduced to about a half-dozen competitors, and get a whiff of who they are and why. The movie might have had greater chances for financial success if it had told just one person's story with a beginning, middle and end. By following so many, we don't get the character-centered commercial uplift or tragedy that sports movies are known for.

But Neale's approach is so un-Hollywood, so unadorned, that its insights smack of real life. When I left the theater, I felt I'd become acquainted and comfortable with a corner of the world I previously had no interest in.


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