Bicycles have been around far longer than a lot of the inventions we take for granted like the car and the telephone. Whereas cars and phones have changed over the years, bicycles have more or less stayed the same albeit for a couple of innovations and adjustments as technology has improved.
They can be used for sport, fun and fitness and even used to generate power. Most people have had experiences with bicycles and it has touched our lives for centuries.
The Engine Inside is a documentary all about the humble bike, directed by Colin Jones, Darren McCollough and Darcy Wittenburg and co-written by Daisy Maddinson. Reaching out to people from all over the world, the documentary looks at people’s experiences and how they’ve all been affected by riding. Narrated by legendary cycling commentator Phil Liggett, The Engine Inside seems truly for the two-wheeled aficionados.
However, the success of how the documentary may affect the viewer will probably depend on what side they fall upon. Whereas most people have had experience riding bikes at one time in their lives, seeing it as a rite of passage, a lot of people don’t bike regularly let alone form an emotional attachment with them.
This is where The Engine Inside starts to feel a bit wobbly, because no matter how good the documentary may come across by highlighting certain issues, the bicycles tend to be a tenuous link at best.
However, this doesn’t seem to stop the documentary talking about women’s rights, indigenous injustice and even road safety. Whilst the latter may seem more relevant, it often feels like the issues that it tackles are more important than the bicycles themselves. Something which may lead the audience to suspect that the subject matter may not be quite as important as the documentary thinks it is.
This unfortunately makes The Engine Inside feel more like a parody of a documentary rather than one that makes a subject more interesting. A product of which may leave some people to laugh and scoff at, whilst others already converted may only be encouraged by their favourite mode of transport.
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