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Doc/Fest: Slaying the Badger | The Clapper Bored

Doc/Fest: Slaying the Badger

Sadly, this is not a film about the badger cull. It’s a cycling film – following in the rich vein of cycling documentaries which have hit cinemas in recent months – that chronicles the rivalry between American Greg LeMond and Frenchman Bernard Hinault (aka The Badger). The young American heads to France, drafted onto the veteran Frenchman’s team and finds that the Tour De France might not be a simple race to the finish line…

The film is largely in the mould of Senna, with the Senna/Prost rivalry transferred to cycling, with the added intrigue of in-team fighting for leadership. With access to all the important players and a mischievous sense of humour that acknowledges the importance of sportsmanship without trying to replicate a more monumental gravity, Slaying the Badger is a fun and interesting sports documentary. Cutting between archive footage (sports archive material is always really strong and this is no exception) and the modern day versions of LeMond (filled out a little…) and Hinault (devilishly charismatic), the film has a nice synoptic view of events, that doesn’t exert too much energy worrying about the events that would rock cycling in the years after the LeMond/Hinault domination.

John Dower has crafted a film that will appeal to cycling enthusiasts and, perhaps even more so, to newcomers to the sport. Bold and confidently made, Slaying the Badger joins the pantheon of great sports documentaries.

Title: Slaying the Badger
Director: John Dower
Running Time: Maybe 90 mins or so

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