Saturday, March 7, 2009

"Beyond the Epic Run" movie review

I saw this movie weeks ago and promised I'd review it, but then life promptly got in the way. It's very annoying when things don't go exactly as I want them to... things like winning the lottery or suddenly becoming a "front of the packer" in my races! But I digress...

Beyond the Epic Run is opening in 12 cities this spring and if you enjoy documentary types of movies all about people pushing to the limit then this is very much worth your time and money. The movie tracks a husband and wife running through 37 countries, 25,000 miles over 5 years, just Serge running and Nicole riding a motorcycle next to him carrying all their gear. Most of the footage is what Serge and Nicole took themselves along the way interspersed with scenery footage taken later. In so many ways this was an incredible, inspiring movie but in other ways it didn't get deep enough into the nitty gritty for me. They went though some terrible hardships, both of them contracted malaria and Nicole almost died, they were robbed, they had to re route at times to avoid civil wars, they lost their charity sponsorship, Serge got hit by a car, and on and on. But for me, as a sick & depraved ultrarunner, I was looking for the blistered feet and the complete breakdown of body and soul, which was touched on but not deep enough for me. It's an epic adventure movie rather then a running movie, and since I showed up expecting a running movie it threw me for a bit.
My only other complaint had to do with the "experts" that peppered the movie. The director pulled in different doctors, runners, etc to give short "oh wow isn't that amazing" speeches, but really the movie doesn't need it. The level of running that Serge did doesn't need a "celebrity" runner to point it out.. it speaks on its own. The guy went through 64 pairs of running shoes, 100 pairs of socks and ran essentially 970 marathons, (that's a marathon every other day for 5 years!!) That's a level of dedication and crazy I can only dream about.
The scenery was breathtaking and it made me want to rush right out and buy a bunch of plane tickets to places I never thought I'd want to visit. The sold all their possessions to take this journey, but wow would it be worth it!
The pure, raw emotion in this movie was absolutely inspiring. Seriously, see this movie if it comes to your town but go in knowing that it is an amazing adventure movie and not a movie about running... which means it's safe to take non running friends and family too!


Sau said...

Thanks for that review, Coleen. The movie does sound amazing, but I think I'm with you; I'd rather have a movie about the dirty reality of running, especially ultrarunning. I want to see nails being pulled off ones feet, runners clearly being pushed beyond their own limits, and seeing determination from runners' souls. But this is not to say that this guy, Serge, did not endure any of these hardships.

Still sounds like a great movie to see. Thanks again for the review.


PS) If you haven't seen The Distance of Truth, I'd highly recommend it. I have it, so if we all ever have a movie night, I'll bring it for those who haven't seen it. It's a documentary about Ferg Hawke, a highly decorated Canadian ultrarunner, and his quest for being the Badwater champion.

Cynical Dirt Doll said...

Thanks for not making me feel like I was the only crazy one Mircea! Blood and guts, tears and joy.

I've been wanting to see Distance of Truth for awhile.. movie night sounds like fun! I can bring along Running on the Sun (that's the OTHER Badwater movie) and we could watch them back to back! See you Wednesday.

Need More Words said...

Hi Coleen,
Enjoyed the review but can you tell me if this couple had a goal for doing this other than running through 37 countries, not that doing that isn't goal enough. Was there a desire to take something back into their lives from these nations, besides blisters and lost toenails, and did they? Just wondering.

Cynical Dirt Doll said...

Hi Diane
They were doing it to raise money for a charity and then halfway through the trip the charity that was sponsoring them dropped them, which caused much anguish but luckily they were able to pick up a new charity before too long. I really recommend seeing the movie, I'm willing to bet both you and Bob would really enjoy it.