Review Movie I Am Bolt (2016) his life in the fast lane Fans of Usain Bolt will find much to relish in this gushing homage to the nine-time Olympic gold medallist, which chases its idol from his 2015 slump, via scenes of downtime in Jamaica to the podium in Rio.
Along the way we meet his parents, his obligatory grizzled coach and his best friend, NJ, who (perhaps tellingly) serves as the film’s co-producer and whose duties extend to tasting Bolt’s food. Could there, God forbid, be some scandal or mess in the wings; anything that might complicate our sense of a peerless athlete with the world at his feet? If so, we aren’t shown it.
Bolt sets the pace and this documentary, it seems, is happy to follow his lead.
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New documentary I Am Bolt doesn’t fall into the trap of trotting out samey platitudes or regurgitating what everyone already knows about its subject – one Usain Bolt, the nine-time Olympic sprint gold medallist.
Instead, it is a very honest piece of work which does rather more than scratch the surface.
In fact, it actually gets right under the skin of this superstar and reveals a depth not previously apparent in a man usually to be found owning his stage and commanding his crowd.
Bolt clearly trusted producers Ben and Gabe Turner, the men behind this film. In front of the camera he is open and unguarded. The viewer is welcomed in.
“Every year, I worry ‘am I still fast?’”
It is definitely Bolt, but here he’s different.
For example he discusses how, despite his complete
and utter dominance of his chosen profession, he
begins every year wondering if he still has what it takes.
There is the admission, too, of a serious lack of
motivation as the Rio Olympics – what were to
be his crowning glory – came looming into view.
That state of mind followed on from an ankle injury sustained in a nightclub which meant he missed a significant chunk of training right when he couldn’t afford to.
As we learn, however, Justin Gatlin’s bravado on a US TV show soon sparked Bolt back into action, but there is a thread running through the film of a man having to fight against himself
largely against his own body. As his agent Ricky Simms puts it: “Injuries have been his biggest rival in his career”.
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