STEVE MCQUEEN: THE MAN & LE MANS || 2015, USA / UK || Documentary || Directed by – Gabriel Clarke, John McKenna / Produced by – Victoria Barrell, Jamie Carmichael, Gabriel Clarke, David Green, Bonamy Grimes, Andrew Marriott, John McKenna, Chad McQueen, David Reeder, Barry Smith, Richard Wiseman / Music by – Jim Copperthwaite / Cinematography by – Matt Smith / Editing by – Matt Wyllie / Running time: 102 mins.
John McKenna and Gabriel Clarke round up a large and wonderful array of participants to tell a mostly untold and yet pivotal moment in the life and career of iconic actor Steve McQueen – the making of his vanity project Le Mans (1971).
Those familiar with the film will know Le Mans for being as close a faithful recreation of a Le Mans 24 Hours race as they come. Despite it being billed as a work of fiction, the film had minimal dramatic elements, almost to the point of being a documentary. This, of course, led to a tumultuous production in countless ways. Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans talks about the intensity of these times, paying careful attention to timing and banking on first hand recollections by people who were there at the time.
In many ways, this can fall in both the category of sports and cinema documentaries, but more important than that is its insightful and humanising gaze upon one of the most renowned Hollywood actors of all time, with all his weaknesses and strengths, as both an artist trying to safeguard his vision and integrity and a family man whose life is slowly and gradually falling apart. – 4/5