SXSW Film Reviews
Peter Sutherland's film about New York city bike messengers is that rare documentary that allows the viewer to live the spectacle rather than view it.
D: Peter Sutherland. (Video, 60 min.)
Some of cinema's most thrilling action sequences in a documentary about New York City bike messengers? That's just one of the pleasures of Pedal, an exhilarating blend of style and substance capturing the essence of a subculture rarely recognized by the public. On a skateboard with a camera strapped to his helmet, Sutherland follows a motley bunch as they race through Manhattan. The film looks at the paradox of their lifestyle: Messengering is both a passion and a curse, providing a spiritual high but a financial and physical low. Aside from the diversity of its subjects, Pedal is also comprehensive in its scope, taking into account the dispatchers, policemen, and taxi drivers that can make or break a messenger's career. Visually arresting (New York City has never looked so threatening) and emotionally potent (the trade can kill you), Pedal is that rare documentary that allows the viewer to live the spectacle rather than view it. Sit back, don't count on relaxing, and bring a tissue ... for tears and sweat. (Bad Dog, 3/15, 7:30pm)