1: Life On The Limit (12A) - film review


Paul Crowder’s very well-researched feature documentary about Formula One racing, made alongside Ron Howard’s drama Rush and narrated by Michael Fassbender, has a strangely morbid undertow. The first part of the film follows the “travelling circus” of Grand Prix drivers in the 1960s and 1970s. They’re very dashing figures (likened by some to Spitfire pilots) who lead glamorous lives but stand a fair chance of being killed. Their cars are “mobile bombs” that grew faster and faster, even as the safety standards of the tracks stayed the same.

The roll call of victims is depressing in the extreme: we hear the stories of how Jim Clark, François Cevert, Jochen Rindt and many other top drivers died racing. At the same time, the film-makers are able to convey the excitement of a sport in which, thankfully, safety standards have improved immeasurably. They’ve spoken to all the leading drivers and F1 mandarins, including Michael Schumacher, Jackie Stewart, Max Mosley and an unusually  candid Bernie Ecclestone. They also make excellent use of archive material.

Director Paul Crowder, 111 mins