‘Wanderlust porn’ review #1 – Reveal the Path

Not long after we decided to go travelling, I started suddenly wanting to watch wanderlust movies and read about other people’s travel adventures, particularly those tales where bikes were involved.  I hoped they might inspire me in planning my own adventure and I’ve posted reviews of some of them here.

revealthepath

I thought this documentary held so much promise; much like our own plans for adventure cycling, it isn’t about racing or getting from one place to another within a set period of time, it is about a group of guys who set out on what they refer to as a ‘bikepacking’ adventure, experiencing different countries from the back of a bike.  But, unfortunately, this turned out to be my least favourite documentary.

Firstly, the good things about the movie: the cinematography was stunning, clearly a great deal of thought and time had been devoted to getting the right shots and unique camera angles.   I also enjoyed the equally well-shot footage of simple encounters the cyclists had with the friendly local people they came across, like the gruff, heavily bearded Scottish man they met whilst sheltering from the rain who spoke with them (unintentionally humorously) about whisky.  The scenes of the guys cycling through seemingly hidden alpine paths really did make me want to get on my bike and head for the first ferry out of the country in search of new and untrodden paths.

But, this brings me to the qualms I had with the movie: right from the very first scene, the film appeared to be making a fairly lame point about what they loosely referred to throughout as ‘the path’.  Most travel movies, books and documentaries make this same point – there’s nothing new about the idea that many people travel to ‘find themselves’ or to gain some new spiritual experience from their adventures, and every traveller will no doubt experience some extreme moments of reflection, which is an inspiring and heart-warming thing to witness, but where this film failed is that, rather than showing this in a subtle way and letting the audience empathise with the personal journey of the cyclists, the characters in Revealing the Path just didn’t stop talking about it.  Constantly.

Another issue I had was with the cyclists themselves.  There was one point in the movie where one of the main characters was discussing ‘bikepacking’, commenting on how it used to be very cliquey, but has now lost the stigma it used to have.  If he hadn’t said it in such a condescending and patronising manner, I might have believed him.

They seemed to be desperately trying to get across how deep and philosophical they were, and with no details given about their personal backgrounds, they were difficult to relate to and just came across as smug, over-privileged, middle-class Apple Macbook owner-types.

I also think the film lacked commentary about the countries themselves and coverage of the practicalities of the trip.  There was no footage of the preparations for the trip and no explanation of how the trip came about.  I (maybe foolishly) didn’t read the synopsis of the film beforehand and it took me until about twenty minutes into the film to understand exactly what was happening.  There was no explanation of how they got between countries or where they got their equipment from; at one point they just inexplicably rock up in Alaska with some brand new sand tires fitted to their bikes!

I really wanted to like this film but it jarred with me.  There were just too many things said that didn’t need to be said—I expect a travel movie to be able to get across the spiritual journey of the characters without repeatedly saying them out loud.

star2

Please check out my other reviews below and leave me a comment if you can recommend a good travel/cycling book, documentary or movie.

Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie

The Man Who Cycled the World

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2 responses to “‘Wanderlust porn’ review #1 – Reveal the Path

  1. Pingback: ‘Wanderlust porn’ review #2 – The Man Who Cycled the World | Cycle Tramps·

  2. Pingback: ‘Wanderlust porn’ review #3 – Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie | Cycle Tramps·

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