Coming with the imprimatur of Formula One management, Crowder has assembled every major driver of the past four decades. Their testimony is full of fascinating anecdotes and not a few controversies, as they try to square their fierce competitiveness and their camaraderie and occasionally their grief. Their serious concerns don't always go together as in the case of Jackie Stewart's rivalry with Jacky Ickx, who resisted a concerted effort to cancel races and thereby pressure organisers into improving safety. Some of the talking heads suffer from an embarrassment of riches and with so many stories to tell, the film occasionally lacks focus.
Matters aren't exactly helped by Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender's somnambulant narration which drones usually necessarily with some linking information. One can't help but notice that towards the latter half of the film, with the rise of Bernie Ecclestone (who has also bought up the television rights), Crowder's documentary begins to feel like an infomercial for the slick multi-million pound industry Formula One is today. That said, 1: Life on the Limit provides plenty of thrills for motorsport enthusiasts and tells an interesting story for those uninitiated, or with only a passing knowledge of that world.
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