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The Free Man review: Toa Fraser’s documentary looks at the work of extreme sports, and one man’s journey to chase the free life following crippling injury.

The Free Man review, Paul Heath. 

The Free Man is an interesting new documentary that looks into the world of extreme sports, and in particular Olympic freestyle skier Jossi Wells, who, following an accident, takes on a sport that he has no experience in whatsoever.

The Free Man review

At just 26, Wells’ body is virtually destroyed from countless accidents on the ski-slopes in a career that effectively began when he was just 18 months old, when he first strapped on a pair of skis. With the will to continue to live life ‘free’ and on the edge, hunting the continuous thrill, Wells teams up with The Flying Frenchies, a group of artists who perform stunts at major altitudes, often without the use of safety harnesses. The film charts Wells’ journey and high-altitude adventure with the troupe, his acceptance of a hugely successful and celebrated profession that has come to an end, and the continuing need that he and the rest of his daredevil peers have to live a ‘free life’.

The Free Man is a wonderfully crafted documentary that slowly draws the viewer into its subject matter. Superbly crafted and filmed, Toa Fraser’s feature focusses in on a group of daredevils from a very clever angle, the director’s voiceover guiding the viewer through the strange world of these individuals that never fails to engross. His camera, which is as much a daredevil as the people it is capturing, takes in the sweeping vistas of Chamonix beautifully, and mixes it with talking heads and archive footage, skilfully getting across the message of whether living this ‘free life’ is worth the daily danger.

The Free Man review

Certainly not ground-breaking, The Free Man is an easy to watch, insular look into human behaviours, a well woven documentary that is certainly worth seeking out.

The Free Man review by Paul Heath, April 2017.

The Free Man is available digitally from April 10th and on DVD from April 24th.


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