I was recently asked to describe myself using one word. It was during one of those atrocious team building exercises strategically devised for maximum discomfort, filled with vacuous buzz-words peppered throughout every other sentence like ‘Synergy,’ ‘Coaction,’ ‘Bonding,’ and the worst of all, ‘opening your flappy mouth hole and speaking with people you work with.’ The worker drone in charge of the pep rally was going round the group, a pallid looking chap with a nervous disposition – the kind of guy that’s usually given this type of job as coordinator because he doesn’t really have the mental fortitude to be trusted with anything else.
I’m not a fan of these types of self-facilitating parleys, and take no pride whatsoever in whatever meagre professional accomplishments I manage to elicit during a working day – sometimes just by turning on my laptop in the morning I feel like a trophy symbol should appear above my head, accompanied with a gaming-like ping noise to let me know that I’ve achieved the goal of waking up. I also take little interest in activities outside of work and am essentially just a myopically blinking, shuffling bag of yogurts watching events in his life waft past like a noxious fart in a slow breeze. Basically, I’m a boring sonofabitch.
It’s difficult to see what might be the best treatment for such an apathetic affliction. Some people suggest going for a run, hiking, or wall climbing in an attempt to get the spark back. And then I watched BASE, about a couple of lunatics that get their jollies from flinging themselves off cliffs. JC (Alexander Polli) and Chico (Carlos Pedro Briceno) are B.A.S.E. jumpers, international playboys who live life on the edge, bro-fist and chest bump each other, spewing out philosophical platitudes such as, ‘You never know how long you have.’
Their relationship is founded on pushing each other to the limit and pursuing man’s greatest dream: to fly. I hate flying, truth be told. I’m the angst ridden passenger you see on any aeroplane, knuckles white and neck vein throbbing – so the thought of simply stepping off a mountain and ‘gliding’ through caverns and jagged rocks that have pointy sharp edges doesn’t appeal to me. When a jump goes wrong and Chico dies, that dream is violently shattered. JC is consumed by grief and takes solace in the company of Chico’s lover, Ash. But he’s still haunted by Chico’s memory and is left pondering his own mortality, so to combat this he risks higher points to push himself harder in search of that ultimate buzz to dull the pain.
The sequences involving the jumps are a spectacle to witness, there’s no denying that. They have a swooping, almost motion sickness feel to them and you know that these gut wrenching scenes are genuine, performed by real people. It’s unfortunate then that these scenes are marred by the inauthentic hammy vibe of the drama on display, in-between the jumps. The knowledge that Alexander Polli died last year while wing suit-flying in the French Alps makes the whole thing tragic and there’s a pervading sense throughout BASE that we’d rather ditch the story line and watch a biography on the jumper himself.
If you’re into extreme sports than you’ll enjoy BASE – if not for the adrenaline rush of watching the jumpers, then for note-taking and research. For everyone else, it’s back to the God awful team building exercises…
BASE is in UK Cinemas now and available Worldwide on iTunes and On Demand from 6th November #BASEMovie http://apple.co/2h10zsJ
Review by Anthony Self
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