“1” – A THRILLING AND HEARTBREAKING JOYRIDE THROUGH FORMULA ONE
Directed by: Paul Crowder
Written by: Mark Monroe
Produced by: Michael Shevloff, Nigel Sinclair
Narrated by: Michael Fassbender
Studios: Flat-Out Films, Diamond Docs, Spitfire Pictures
1 is a look back through the years of Formula One motor sport, and the effects that the sport had on those involved. With brand new interviews with classic drivers and personalities such as Nikki Lauda, Nigel Mansell, Jackie Ickx and Ermerson Fittipaldi, Paul Crowder’s emotional hark back is a wild ride that will have you hanging on the edge of your seat like you are doing 80mph round Mirabeau corner at Monaco. Hold on tight, you’re in for a heavy ride.
The film starts off with the Martin Brundle crash from 1996, which needs no introduction to F1 fans all over the world. Brundle ran his Benson and Hedger Jordan into the back of David Coulthard’s McLaren and Johnny Herbert’s Sauber, which resulted in a spectacular barrel roll into the sand pits, resulting in Brundle’s car breaking in two and the race being stopped. Miraculously, no-one was hurt, and Brundle escaped unscathed and willing to race again, which he did in his back up car.
After this, the film jumps to the events that led up to this seminal point in F1 history, starting with Roger Williamson and the fatal crash at Zandvoort. This footage is harrowing to watch, with fellow driver David Purley – who immediately stopped his car to jump out and help – frantically trying to overturn the flaming fireball of a wreck to help Williamson out, as other officials without flame retardant clothing stood by and watched as Purley helplessly and single-handedly tried to save him.
The film carries on through triumphs and tragedies, and focuses on various legends like Juan Manuel Fangio and Jackie Ickx, as life after life is taken with hands at the wheels of unsafe cars and dangerous roads with no health facilities, through bad driving conditions and directors simply saying “go faster!” With no thoughts to the consequences of doing so.
The interviews and new footage is what makes “1” the most gripping and emotional documentary of its ilk, talks with James Hunt’s son Freddie, shows the friendship between Hunt and Lauda, rather than the rivalry that they shared, with Freddie repeating part of the conversation he had with Lauda when they met, “I wished I could have shared the championship with your father, he was a great man, he was my friend.”
“1” is a must see film, and not just for fans of Formula One. This films brings the humanity into the sport, focusing on the people and events in the biggest championships each year through the decades. Footage of crashes, collisions, qualifying laps, race starts and celebrations, all shown from different angles that have been obtained specifically for this documentary, including clips filmed as part of the Racer’s wives and girlfriends club “The Dog House Club”, make this film a chilling and heart-breaking viewing experience.
Michael Fassbender’s narration throughout the film just tops off the already perfect bundle, with his serene voice walking us through the history of the sport and the footage being shown.
The film finishes up back where it started, with the Martin Brundle crash in 1994, and shows how Bernie Ecclestone and Prof. Sid Watkins turned around the safety of the sport, not to stop crashes, as they are seen as ‘unavoidable’ due to the nature of the sport, but to ensure that the drivers come out of them unscathed. The Martin Brundle crash in Melbourne proved that the moves Ecclestone and Watkins had been making, were working, the car wings had been made higher, the building materials better, and the barriers changed, the sport was becoming safer.
Still, to date, Ayrton Senna is the last fatality to happen in a F1 race, most of us will remember “that” corner, and the ensuing crash and scenes afterwards, and if the interview with Prof. Sid Watkins here doesn’t have you in tears, nothing will.
All in all, “1” will have you laughing and crying through 2 hours of very candid footage and very cleverly edited material, as the soundtrack to the years plays you through, including bands and artists such as: Cream, Focus, Stevie Winwood, Wings and The Allman Brothers.
This review was written from a screening of “1” that Michael Fassbender Online (MFO) attended on the 18th October 2013 at Vue cinemas in Leicester square. MFO was invited to meet Paul Crowder before the screening to have a quick chat about the film and Michael’s involvement in it. Two of our members, myself and Marnie Taylor, went down to London on the morning of the event, and met up with Paul in the cinema for 15 minutes before the showing. Paul was incredibly welcoming and supportive of our work through the website and other medias, we took our seats ready to watch the film, and met with Paul again afterwards, who sends his warmest regards to MFO and will keep checking in with the website to see how things are going and offered to help with our cause in any way he could.
You can check out Paul’s other works on IMDB here: Paul Crowder
Review by Brett | MFO