21 Days Under The Sky

I’m going on a motorcycle roadtrip. In the USA. On a chopper. How could I *not* watch this film?  Here are my thoughts on it…

Firstly, I think I ought to let you know that although I’m going to knock this film a bit, I really loved it.

The documentary follows four friends, Josh Kurpius, Troy Critchlow, Gentry Dayton and Ryan Grossman as they ride their vintage Harley choppers 3800 miles along the Lincoln Highway from San Francisco to New York for the Brooklyn Invitational Motorcycle Show.  Shot by filmaker Michael Schmidt, the cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful and the music is the perfect blend of Americana that just makes you want to get on your bike and ride.

Narrated by Robert Patrick (of liquid metal Terminator fame) there’s not a single moment talking to camera or an explanation for what’s going on by the riders themselves – it’s just one set piece to another, punctuated by a gravelly voiceover to set the scene.  There’s never any doubt that these guys are bikers through and through, but from the opening scenes of them preparing their bikes, it’s clear that these aren’t just bikers… these are *hipster* bikers.  They’re at pains to show you what books they’ve been reading and what drugs they’ve been taking.  There’s even a moment where they’re planning the ride and they write on the map that there’s no gas for eighty miles and if they miss a petrol station, they’re fucked.  The thing is, we all know that to shoot a film this achingly beautiful, you need at the very least a chase car or van with the camera gear, the audio engineer and all the other gubbins you need to produce a feature film.  They’ll sort you out with a spare jerry can if it all goes tits up, boys!

The script is wonderfully over the top – it really did feel like there was no superlative that writer Kate O’Connor Morris wouldn’t have used to describe just how epic an adventure this was supposed to be. She portrays these guys as colossal risk-takers, out on a journey of a lifetime to find themselves as they venture off into the unknown – when actually, they’re four dudes from the bay area with jolly nice beards who are having a three week roadtrip on their old motorbikes.  They just happen to have a following film crew with a penchant for lens flare and a production budget that can afford some truly excellent music.

No matter what you think of it, though – it’s an awesome film and one that I totally recommend you watch (albeit with your tongue wedged in your cheek).  I’ve downloaded the soundtrack to listen to as I’m riding along next month and I shall enjoy it all over again as I immerse myself in the same surroundings.

Oddly, I’ll be riding for about 21 days, too – and doing the same sort of mileage. Just sayin’…

 

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