You have to really
motor racing in order to enjoy this film. That might sound like Im
stating the obvious, but Im
not. This is a true-to-life recreation of the great Le Mans 24 hour
race, filmed solely at the track and its surrounds. This isnt
even really a movie about Le Mans, because there is practically no
story. It is Le Mans. Its
just like watching two hours of the race, and everything which that
entails: it can be exciting, it can be tedious, it can be harrowing and
a breakdown of the plot:
American racing car driver Michael Delaney (Steve McQueen) has had a
horror year, having just recovered from a crash at the Nurburgring
circuit which caused the death of a fellow driver. He enters the Le Mans
24 hour race with his Gulf team Porsche, as the main rival to German ace
Eric Stahler (Siegfried Rauch.) Over the course of the 24 hours, Delaney
battles his own personal demons while he tries to stay on the road and
bring home the ultimate prize.
The lead female role of Lisa Belgetti is filled by Elga Andersen, but
her presence feels token at best. There is very little dialogue in this
film, and most of it consists of muffled conversations in pit lane.
McQueen himself says it best during a conversation with Elga:
life. Everything that happens before or after is just waiting.
how we as the audience feel throughout most of the off-track scenes:
just padding while were
waiting for the real thing to start up again.
Every now and then the post-production team try to do something cute
with the editing, or the quirky jazz soundtrack kicks in, but these
moments are rare. There are lots of crane or helicopter shots and long
sequences showing the people in the crowd, as well as all the peripheral
excitement of sideshow alleys and miniature car races. There is an
authenticity to be found here, but mostly it just feels like the
production crew have gathered as much footage of the race event as
possible and then tried to cobble it together in a film.
Alongside the theatrical trailer, there is a brief documentary called
This is hosted by McQueens
son Chad, and takes us through the making of Le Mans. It doesnt
go into as much detail as I would have liked, but the information on the
stunts and camera-work is good value.
the Le Mans 24 hour- if you tune in every year, get excited by pit
strategies and tyre compounds- then youll
get a kick out of this feature. If youre
a raving fan of Steve McQueen then the same applies. For everyone else,
the lack of story and character development might leave you wanting.
Review courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment and available
to purchase at