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In the history of sports, few names are more recognizable than that of Evel Knievel. Long after the man hung up his famous white leather jumpsuit and rode his Harley into the sunset, his name is still synonymous with the death-defying lifestyle he led. Notoriously brash, bold, and daring, Knievel stared death in the face from the seat of his motorcycle, but few know the larger-than-life story of the boy from Butte, Montana.

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Being Evel movie full length review - fascinating, exhaustive and well researched, and entertaining documentary

This is a fascinating, exhaustive and well researched, and entertaining documentary about the flamboyant daredevil motorbike riding Evel Knievel.

Born Robert Craig Knievel in Butte, Montana, he became world famous as Evel Knevel, given to dangerous stunts like jumping over buses and his flamboyant appearances on television. He was the iconic hero America needed during troubled times. He has been the subject of many other documentaries, but unlike previous films Being Evel is not simply a hagiography, but rather offers up a detailed and revealing a warts and all look at Knievel and shows his darker nature and volatile personality. There is his vicious attack on Sally Saltman, his former press agent, with a baseball bat that landed him in jail. Knievel lived much of his life in the public eye, so there is a wealth of archival material for veteran documentary director Daniel Junge (A LEGO Brickumentary, etc) to draw upon. The film shows many of his spectacular stunts and some sickening footage of his many crash landings. But the centrepiece of the film centres around his much publicised failed attempt to jump across the Grand Canyon in a purpose built miniature rocket, and we get plenty of juicy revelations and speculation about what went wrong here. And a number of friends, family members and colleagues recall colourful and lively anecdotes about the man. Jackass's Johnny Knoxville is obviously a huge fan, and here he waxes lyrical about the man and his achievements, and acknowledges the impact Knievel had on the establishment of extreme sports. Actor George Hamilton, who played Knievel in an awful 1972 biopic and who is one of the producers of this film, recounts a fascinating anecdote that illustrates Knievel's sense of his own infallibility and his growing paranoia and egocentric behaviour. One of the more entertaining documentaries screening at MIFF, Being Evel demystifies the complex, complicated and deeply flawed man behind the legend and is a lot of fun to watch!