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  Base Who Knew Jumping Off A Cliff Could Be So Dangerous?
Year: 2017
Director: Richard Parry
Stars: Alexander Polli, Julie Dray, Carlos Pedro Briceño, Riquier Vincendeau-Verbraeken
Genre: Drama, Action, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: There are two kinds of people who step off the edge: those who wish to die and those who wish to live. JC (Alexander Polli) is one of the latter, a playboy adventurer who spends his spare time indulging himself in his favourite pastime, leaping from very high places - while wearing a parachute, of course. Not for him the comparatively simple thrill of flying high in an aeroplane and jumping out to float to the ground, he always wanted something more, so travels to various points around the globe where there are towering cliffs or equally towering buildings and launches himself off, often wearing a specially designed wing suit which allows him to literally fly across the landscape...

Base is a film that will always be tinged with sadness, and indeed if you knew Polli it will be positively drenched in sadness because it was completed after his death. Watching his foolhardy endeavours you will not be surprised to learn it was while base jumping that he met his demise, hitting a tree on the way down from one of his leaps, but fortunately for the filmmakers here, he did complete enough footage for their project to be edited into a full-length movie (albeit one which lasted under ninety minutes all told). As a movie star, you could tell early on that Polli was no actor, and in fact this was more like watching a film where the stuntmen had taken over and were calling the shots.

In that manner it was closer to Brian Trenchard Smith's tributes to Australian stuntman Grant Page with material such as The Deathcheaters or Stunt Rock, where the action did not merely dictate the plot, it was pretty much all there was of a plot. This did beg the question, why not simply make an extreme sports video like the countless others on the market, and the answer appeared to be so audiences could get to witness the vertiginous activity on the silver screen, whether appealing to the base jumpers' vanity that they could be movie stars thanks to their physical pursuits or because everyone involved felt that this was a sport that deserved to be seen in the highest definition on the biggest platform.

Obviously, most who watched this would not see it in a cinema, they would watch it in a home environment, which would not have the same effect. Nevertheless, even watching it on your television or tablet you would be impressed by the excellent quality of the footage director Richard Parry captured, often simply by planting a small, HD camera on the safety helmets or wrists of the jumpers. If you were at all nervous (or even outright terrified) of heights, this was not going to be a film to get along with, especially as the heights themselves provided not only the spectacle, but also the reason for watching, with plenty of beautiful scenery seen from a vantage point not often given to the majority of us. That it was presented in pin-sharp definition was a bonus that became the entire raison d'etre.

What certainly was not was the plot which strained through a tragedy, but not the one you might be expecting. The JC character, perhaps ironically in light of what Polli suffered, likes to go base jumping with his best friend, but half an hour in said friend is killed in a very real-looking accident: the producers claimed one of their aims was to have the audience wondering if what they were seeing was genuinely happening, and there was a prime example of that question. Thereafter, in between the stunts was a lot of soul searching from JC and the deceased's girlfriend Ash (Julie Dray, the only professional thespian in the tiny cast) as they grew closer, though there were hurdles to happiness there too as both end up blaming JC for the accident. With a real death hanging heavily over the production, that this was the storyline they had elected to go with was unfortunate, and a morbidity crept in long before the end credits rolled, even if the sights Base relayed were truly impressive. Music by James Edward Barker.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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