12 April 2020 | paul2001sw-1
Star-struck, but interesting nonetheless
Steve McQueen was a movie star with a serious interest in motor racing. He aimed to bring his career and hobby together when he made the film 'Le Mans'. This documentary, about the making of that movie, tries hard to paint McQueen as a man with a vision, ultimately stimied by the system. But it also opens the way to another view: that like many of the rich and famous, McQueen simply expected to get his own way, a form of "integrity" that few of us can afford and which is barely indistinguishable from being spoiled. In places it seems the film wants us to join the crowd of admirers who consider McQueen cool for crashing his sports car driving recklessly in the rain, or for sleeping with a dozen women a week while married. Strip away the star-worship, and you do get a sense of his deep love for the sport, and of the risks taken by the drivers who participated in it in a time when few of the safety measures we are now used to were in place. It succeeds in making you want to watch McQueen's own film, even if (by general repute) it ultimately isn't very good.