DVD review: “Born Racer” (2018)

“Born Racer” (2018) 


Running Time: 88 minutes

Directed by: Bryn Evans

Featuring: Scott Dixon, Emma Davies-Dixon and Kenny Szymanski

Emma Davies-Dixon:“…unless he’s going really fast, he doesn’t feel alive.”

Released this month on DVD is the documentary “Born Racer” (2018) based mostly around New Zealand born car racer Scott Dixon who now makes his living in the US. For me this movie is less a must see movie, rather it is for those that enjoy motor sports or have an affinity to see a small town person making good on his early promise as well as having been backed by people that believed and still believe in him. 

Many documentary filmmakers attempt to change or improve society in some way with their documentaries. Their goal is to bring to light a certain cause or injustice with the hope that their film will help galvanize the masses to demand change. An example might be a documentary on a humanitarian crisis in Sudan. For other documentaries, the goal is simply to entertain or delight the audience in some way. These are called human-interest stories. At its core “Born Racer” really is nothing more than a diversion, no real substance but an mostly enjoyable narrative for the entire family.

The past two years or so has been an excellent year for documentaries not only on streaming or DVD but in cinemas which is a trend that goes against what many people may have expected. However I find this to be exactly what should be expected especially with the concentration of so-called ‘fake news’ that now exists on the internet, coupled with what has been coming from the White House under the Trump Presidency. In fact there was a thought that cinematic documentaries might be a thing of the past especially with the success as well as saturation of Disney-fied blockbusters invading multiplexes, in fact audiences have been flocking to cinemas to seek out stories about real people making real differences in times and places where many others have been marginalised and made powerless by the people in charge in their respective times. Some of the great, as well as critically received, not forgetting making money documentaires at the box office are: “Wont you be my neighbour?” (2018), “Three Identical Strangers” (2018), “Jane” (2018),  “RBG” (2018), and my personal favourite “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” (2017) with so many more. What this says about audiences is that they will seek out true stories told in the relative first person that are not only inspiring but are direct counter programming to the politics of the day as well as the lies that are being produced by a President who is not only artificial but hate fuelled. My belief as a fan of documentaries is that this genre will only gain in popularity, with the coming years being a boon as well as revealing the importance of truth in the media as well as the importance of researching decisions made by the electorate. It is no surprise that the rise in fake news, Donald Trump, racism and may other hate fuelled elements has been answered by artists creating documentaries that prove there can be positive outcomes when people choose to buck the system as well as believing in others, differences, freedom and most of all, discussion. 

This is for the most part an inspirational story of dedication, danger and fear. It’s about desire for success and accomplishment and the search for ultimate meaning, purpose in life; a narrative on the unforgiving world of professional racing and the unique individuals who inhabit it. This action-packed, yet highly intimate and intense blend of close-up observational filming and never-seen-before spectacular, cutting-edge racing footage explores exactly what it takes to compete in the world’s fastest and most diverse racing series.

There is no doubt that Scott Dixon is one of New Zealand’s most successful sporting exports and yet many Kiwis know little about his personal and professional life. The 38-year-old has dominated America’s premiere motorsport competition – the IndyCar series – during the past decade, winning four of the past 11 championships. Directed by Bryn Evans “Born Racer” attempts to lift the lid on the Brisbane-born Dixon and expose local audiences to the rigours of one of the USA’s most-beloved sporting obsessions.

“Born Racer” is an absolutely fine piece of film making, it checks off all the parts you would expect in a documentary like this, it is a profile movie of the most vanilla kind it will not offend anyone but on the other hand it will not be of any surprise to an audience who may have liked a deeper dive into this car racing hero.

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