Director: Phil Keoghan
No Opportunity Wasted/Madman
Kiwi-born, US-based TV presenter Phil Keoghan takes a lot of the look and feel of this film from his years in service to growing TV audiences. He’s here both in front of and behind the camera, the star of the show in a documentary feature that has him attempting to recreate the unenviable ride that was the 1928 Tour de France. It’s obviously his own version of The Amazing Race; he’s in it, he’s framing it, he’s selling the drama.
And in the end it’s a riveting performance – and story. I wasn’t sold on Le Ride straight away, but I warmed, and it wins you over I reckon. The sheer feat, the grit and grind of it, they’re there in tribute to an Australian crew from the 20s, using replica bikes – bad breaks, bad turning, twice the weight of the bikes anyone is used to day, the drama and tension ratchets with nearly every turn of a bike wheel.
And it’s also gorgeous scenery at time, a beautiful travelogue of sorts, one in which you can get caught up – if not that’s entirely the case with The Amazing Race then certainly that’s been the case with Top Gear which lures in more than just petrolheads, say. Same here – I’m not bike fan, in fact I fucking hate cyclists, as a rule. I get the green power behind it all but they’re a pain in the arse.
That said I was won over by the enormous spirit of this – the sheer effort, the scale, the madness, the commitment.
And even the TV production feel starts to fall away and move into something more deserving; more a fly-on-the-wall tour-de-force of the Tour de France.
The one shame is this is about Keoghan and his mate, and not really about celebrating the original team. That’s merely the ruse, damn near a production footnote. A great shame. Still, this is a good watch. And I’m almost the last person to say that about something that involves fucking bicycles.