I regularly write movie reviews on a Facebook page I created a few years ago. When I feel like it, I’ll post them here as well. Both of the movies mentioned below are currently on Netflix.
The common cycling saga one hears about in the US is all about Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall, but this doc focuses on a cyclist who I’m embarrassed to mention I did not even know. Pantani raced in an age where every single team in the Tour and the Giro doped.
Had he been able to continue cycling, there does not seem to be doubt in people’s minds that he would have far exceeded Armstrong as the most successful doping cyclist to ever live.
The guy was a machine, seemed like he was made to ride a bike in a way that Armstrong never was. As soon as he hopped on his mom’s bike for his first training ride it was clear to his parents and his first coach that he was a prodigy. They were correct. But going pro turned out far more challenging than Pantani expected. The length of the rides were not a problem. The climbs were not a problem. The major challenge came when Pantani was introduced to the seedy underbelly of the cycling world at that time. This documentary follows Pantani’s arc as a professional, from his meteoric rise to the sudden, sad denouement.
This is a zany documentary about a zany kid who got his MA in IR from Georgetown and then decided he hadn’t done anything cool, wasn’t a man, didn’t know crap, so he rode his motorcycle across the Middle East, came home, and then went back to fight alongside friends he made in Libya against Gaddafi and his army. Oh, and he was also imprisoned for five months during Libya’s civil war.
The guy is unique and he knows it. His moderate to severe OCD also plays a prominent role in his journey as would be expected. It’s a fascinating tale and it makes for one wild ride.