[CHARGE: ZERO EMISSIONS/MAXIMUM SPEED screens Thursday May 23rd at 7:30 pm at the Capitol Theatre.]
Review by Bob Ignizio
The Isle of Man TT bike race is a thrilling competition in which cyclists zip along public roads at high speed. Death is a very real possibility for the incautious or unlucky racer. Now add in to the mix bikes that are largely untested experimental vehicles designed to run on battery power instead of gasoline, and things can get even more interesting. At least that's the idea behind Mark Neale's documentary film CHARGE: ZERO EMISSIONS/MAXIMUM SPEED. And for the most part, that's how the film plays out.
Several teams of engineers from around the world converged on the Isle of Man in 2009 for the first ever zero emissions race. CHARGE spends most of its time focusing on American bike designer Michael Cyzsz and the British eccentric/genius Cedric Lynch, inventor of the Agni motor that most of the racers in the film use. Lynch is the kind of character who could probably carry a whole film on his own. There's plenty of drama in the Cyzsz camp as well, though. Despite being the seeming favorites going in, the Cyzsz team's hopes start to fade as they become a classic example of Murphy's Law (“everything that can go wrong, will go wrong”).
It's this human element that holds the interest of those not particularly interested in motorcycle racing or the latest developments in green energy. Ewan McGregor's enthusiastic narration also helps in hold the attention of more casual viewers. And come on, how can you not get at least a little excited about the convergence of cutting edge technology and high speed thrills? 3 out of 4 stars.