The Run review – ultra-marathon documentary trips up

first_imgReuse this content Support The Guardian Twitter Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn The Indian ascetic tradition can add another name to its ranks: former Australian parliamentary secretary and ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer, whose 4,600km “Spirit of India” run in 2016 from the subcontinent’s southern tip to Kashmir is chronicled here. That’s 80km – two marathons – a day, for 64 days. If that, often undertaken in 80% humidity, doesn’t sound masochistic enough, Farmer’s social schedule (the run is to promote girls’ education) would finish any normal man off: he attends more than 750 “events”, many on the hoof, during this time.India can’t fail to provide colour en route, but director Anupam Sharma’s nippy travelogue format is strictly passing through. Barely any Indians are interviewed about what Farmer’s feat means to them, and the alternating asphalt-pounding and meet-and-greets eventually stretch the bounds of documentary patience. Farmer himself is so indomitable – even a bout of stomach flu barely causes him to break stride – that he isn’t that compelling a subject.The closest The Run comes to an arresting subplot is with the team’s greenhorn intern Kevin, fresh out of university, who finds himself under Farmer’s cosh for failing to secure decent enough media coverage. At one point, he muses that the Aussie press would find the story more compelling if his boss died. Watching him shuffle his battered sinews across four lanes of Mumbai traffic, this seems a distinct possibility.An unfulfilled note hangs over the whole enterprise. A meeting with Modi doesn’t come through. The postscript resentfully notes that Farmer has yet to be invited to participate in bilateral trade discussions. Kevin’s insight lingers: you have to ask if Farmer found a sharp enough way to communicate the meaning of this journey. Not in this film, which doesn’t go beyond platitudes about “dreams” and “bringing the two countries closer together”, or pry much into Farmer’s seemingly bottomless obstinacy. The Spirit of India isn’t even the most hardcore thing he’s done – that would be the Pole to Pole run in 2011. Still, saying it merits A for effort feels like an understatement.• The Run is released in the UK on 6 September. Share on WhatsApp Since you’re here… Share on Facebook India Extreme sports reviews … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Facebook Topics Share on Messenger South and Central Asia Pinterest Share via Email Documentary films Share on Pinterestlast_img

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