DIR/WRI/PRO: Michael Hewitt, Dermot Lavery • ED: Andrew Tohill • DOP: Mark Garrett • DES: Steve Saklad • MUS: Mark Gordon, Richard Hill • CAST: Liam Neeson
Road racing is one of the fastest and most dangerous of all motor sports with Ireland and The Isle of Man being the only two places in the world that it is legal. Despite this, it is as popular now as it was when the infamous Dunlop brothers first appeared on the scene. Narrated by Liam Neeson, Road is a feature documentary about the Dunlop family who have dominated road racing titles since the 1970s. With humble beginnings in Ballymoney, County Antrim, brothers Joey and Robert’s foray into the sport began with a love of racing friends on the back roads of their hometown. Throughout their careers they constructed and repaired their own bikes, always close to the mechanics of the sport.
A tale of two generations – the film weaves masterfully between Michael and William, sons of Robert Dunlop – who continue the family tradition into present day. This is executed beautifully through the use of archive footage, often reconstructing shots from the past and juxtaposing them against the two young men preparing for a race.
There are some wonderful moments in this film, and terrific racing footage from every vantage point of the machine. The documentary really gets under the skin of this family and their obsession with the sport with a lovely sense of these brothers, of who they were, throughout. Despite personal histories full of tragedy, the need these young men have for the sport is evident – and it is a need – which is wrapped up in identity and family tradition. This could easily be a fan film or a family memoir, but it avoids both. A worthy topic, well told.
PG (See IFCO for details)
Road is released on 13th June 2014