The fourth film we have covered from the 59th London Film Festival is a documentary movie from filmmaker Daniel Junge. He is showcasing his adrenaline-pumping account of a ‘hero’ in Being Evel.
Evel Knievel paved the way for stunt careers to be a mainstream and professional employment. He is celebrated as a daring spirit but he also had a darker side that Junge explores.
With the help from collaborators and the lead ‘talking head’ Johnny Knoxville, Being Evel explains how he became a legend…
Being Evel is billed as the real story behind the myth of American icon Robert 'Evel' Knievel and his legacy. Super fan Johnny Knoxville with family and friends, delve into Evel’s past starting with his childhood.
He had a ‘rough’ childhood in the respect that he grew up in a masculine, coalminers’ town where you were taught to sort out your problems with your fists. This could be a reason why he became a reckless, past-caring man who would stop at nothing for richness.
It quickly moves onto how Evel started making money and receiving attention for his death defying stunts. The documentary revisits such moments as the Cesar’s Palace failure in Vegas and the 1974 rocket-powered leap over Snake River Canyon in Idaho which proves to be every bit as crazy as it did back then.
A lot of people make an appearance, sharing their memories of life with him, including his two wives, his three kids, his friends and publicists, journalists and writers. They spoke highly of his charisma, his showmanship and his womanising ways – his ex-wife being the surprisingly main interviewee here. You are also told of his crooked ways and how he was ridiculously ruthless and at times brutal.
He never really recovered from the PR nightmare of the failed jump across the Snake River Canyon and he ended up doing jail time for assaulting former business partner Shelly Saltman with a baseball bat. It meant a spiralling downward fall for his career.
The documentary is a fascinating watch. The editing team slice and dice great footage together with classic videos blending them with stunt teams of today who have been inspired by him. The soundtrack is top notch too with an epic introduction montage. Don’t miss this often humorous yet poignant docu-feature.
Cineroom's Rating: 4 Stars
Being Evel will be released in selected cinemas nationwide before a DVD release. Certificate 12A/15.