Petrolheads have certainly been blessed with documentaries this year. We’ve had the rather pleasing I, Superbiker, the utterly fantastic TT3D, and the somewhat overhyped Senna biopic all vying for our attention.
But, just when you thought that one more motor racing flick and your brain would go pop, along comes Mark Neale’s Fastest, a high-revving look at the world of MotoGP that’s part racing documentary, part character study.
Those who have seen Faster will know what to expect from the follow-up: plenty of on track action, loud guitar music, and self-confessed bike nut Ewan McGregor on narration duties.
Beginning with an in-depth look at Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo’s epic wheel-to-wheel battle at the 2009 Spanish Grand Prix, Fastest certainly starts on a high, but from thereon in it merely trundles through the foothills of averageness.
Neither a full-blown season review nor retrospective look at the sport, it sits somewhere between the two without ever excelling in either department.
It predominately focuses on the 2010 season, a season in which Rossi broke his leg and arch rival Lorenzo became world champion. The erstwhile Yamaha teammates are under the spotlight for most of Fastest’s 110 minutes running time, especially Italy’s favourite son, who is clearly the main character as nearly everything is told from his point of view.
Naturally someone of Rossi’s stature warrants attention, and while all the 2010 MotoGP riders feature in Fastest, they don’t receive nearly enough airtime to make this a well balanced documentary – it only just about scratches the surface in revealing what makes the likes of Marco Simoncelli and Casey Stoner tick.
The biggest problem with Fastest, however, is with its overly long running time. My interest levels began to wane towards the end, and judging by the number of fellow cinemagoers I caught clockwatching, I don’t think it’s my short attention span to blame on this occasion.
With a bit of pruning, some much needed focus, and a pinch of balance, Fastest would border on becoming a must-see film. It’s certainly entertaining enough, and if anything acts as an excellent catch-up service for MotoGP novices. But for the more committed fan it doesn’t probe deep enough and may feel like a wasted opportunity.