Narrated by the legend that is Sir Patrick Stewart as well as Tiff Needell and featuring commentary from John Hindhaugh; Journey to Le Mans documents the story of the Jota Sport team as they try to complete the ultimate racing challenge and win Le Mans 2014.
Written and directed by Charlotte Fantelli, she has to be given credit for making Journey to Le Mans a documentary that flows well from start to finish. Featuring some incredible racing shots and with unbridled access to the team it gives the viewer an opening into the often closed world of racing and an understanding of the mentality behind both team owner and those that drive and work for Jota Sport.
There were a lot of personalities on show and Fantelli does a good job of weaving them all together. Despite a little too much focus on Simon Dolan, making it at times feel like this was a promotional film for his brilliance, overall I was impressed with the mixture Fantelli created, allowing the viewer to feel connected with all the important characters.
Unfortunately, despite good flow and some strong build up, the documentary has been somewhat over-dramatised and made inaccessible to non-racing fans. Far too often simple decisions, to which we know there is a conclusion, are given such an intense build up that that outcome or result is under-whelming. Whether this is through the direction of Charlotte Fantelli or the personality of those involved, isn’t clear, but I think Fantelli could have held back which would have made the drama of the race a little less manufactured and ultimately, more pertinent.
Despite not quite being at the heights of the recent documentary Senna, this is still worthwhile watch and a must have for the collection of any racing aficionados. Non-racing fans may feel a little bit of the Le Mans experience as they watch, feeling a little like an endurance race as it doesn’t quite go deep enough at any point to hold the interest of non-racing fans.
An entertaining documentary and a worthwhile watch for racing fans, but not for everyone.
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