My heart was in my mouth, I was holding my breath, the sheer emotion of
the last act of the film had totally captured me. The film maker,
Wonke, has carefully and lovingly crafted a beautiful film. Why do I
keep referring to 'Being AP' as a film, and not a documentary? Because
in every sense of the way, it is filmic, and tells the fascinating
story with a classic three act structure you see lacking in many
feature films today. Probably some good editing went on also, I would
By the end of the film I had almost forgotten I was watching a documentary, it was like the third wall didn't exist. The film is seamless, and builds to its realistic finale with superlative story telling. The voice over is used sparingly and to good effect. It is only near the end that some of AP's psychology is revealed; the addiction to win, the drive to perform, the fear of failure. As good films do, this film shows not tells, AP's taciturn reserve throughout and almost cruel goading of the host of an awards point towards a life lived in the spotlight and under criticism, particularly of his age and stage. The show don't tell approach may not please all viewers who wanted to know more, or see more highlights of his career depicted, but biopics must slice out a part of a subjects life, and then build the narrative structure with that, not dip in and out of the lifeline of the subject, and the films succeeds because it stays in the present and drives towards its ending like AP with 'the bat out' headed for the finish line and a win. Because that is what an addict needs, their fix.
The compassion drawn from us by the film maker towards AP and what he will do when put out to pasture is underpinned by the scene where we cringe as does AP, over the peanut butter ad his publicist wants him to do. In the back of my mind I wondered about AP taking up a trainers role, or an owners role, which is often a logical progression, but this is not mentioned - it would detract from the harsh reality of waking up from the dream of his life...
But it is the emotions that really draw you in, the relationship between AP and his wife Chanelle is bare, they allow access to their lives like people who are used to being filmed and watched in the public realm. The ending is bittersweet for both of them - more sweet for Chanelle who gets her husband back alive, bitter for AP, as his life will never be the same.
Do watch this film...
Action / Documentary / Sport
Action / Documentary / Sport
Undoubtedly one of Northern Ireland's greatest ever sportsmen, the story of AP's final season is a fascinating mix of sacrifice, doubt, decisions, triumphs and failures, injury and ultimately, finding a way to leave the stage. With unprecedented access to a top athlete, the film tracks all the elements that make up McCoy's life. We see him in action at racecourses across the UK and Ireland. We are with him at the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree. We see him struggling with injury at home, setting himself new targets and grappling with the decision whether to retire or not. We track the successful early part of the season, when AP harbours the outrageous idea of riding 300 winners in a season. We see the shattering effect of injury on body and psyche. We witness the torment of deciding whether this is to be his last season, and we are there as he goes through the public agony of playing out his retirement in public. And then it's no more. Our cast is the team around him; the billionaire...
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December 18, 2015 at 05:31 PM