Last evening I attended the opening of the Salsa Cycles presented film project, Reveal The Path. I saw the film at its premier at the Riverview Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The bike film genre' is mostly consumed with riding footage, gravity driven pursuits, and stunts, for the most part. So limited appeal to those outside the cycling circles is to be expected. Was Reveal The Path another "endurance junkie" film, or a pursuit of the ultimate single track film? I didn't know going in. I suspected as much, but to be honest, I hadn't a clue as to what it would be about beforehand, beyond my own vague guesses that it was, in fact, an endurance junkie film. First let me say I was entirely wrong about that!
Reveal is more than a cycling film, first off. It has bicycles in it, yes of course. There are some sweet riding spots shown, and something of the pitfalls and struggles concerning cycling and endurance through difficulties doing such are there. However; Reveal goes beyond that to delve into the experiential, mind bending factors of contact with other cultures, religions, and ways of life that can be discovered by bicycle.
That sounds huge and like a vast, almost incomprehensible subject matter to tackle in a bicycle driven film, and Reveal does its best to dip your toes into a dizzying array of African/Western/Eastern culture and lifestyle which, on the surface of it, seems disjointed. The film makers strive to tie this disparate soup of world beats together with the bicycle and the shared experiences of four cyclists who are bikepacking through these layers of culture and fantastic landscape.
My feelings about the film are that there is much to be derived from it, not only from a cyclists perspective, but for anyone with a latent sense of wanderlust that needs a "kick in the pants" to get out there and do something. This is a strong message in the film, and to that degree, I found the project to be successful.
That said, I felt as though there was so much undeveloped potential for this film to become the stronger statement that it could have been. There are characters I wanted to see more focus on, struggles hinted at that weren't fully developed, and the beginning of the film seemed quite out of place and clunky.
Okay, so should you go see this film? If you have an inkling of an adventuresome spirit lurking inside of your birthday suit, you will be glad you went to see Reveal The Path. For those others that have a need for a story to delve deep, to be entertained thoroughly, and like to have the mysteries solved by the closing credits, you may find Reveal The Path to be wanting, dim, and disjointed.
I think, in a way, even my own criticisms of the film are just a way to point out that I need to go out and make my own statements, find my own answers to the mysteries, and discover and overcome my own struggles- be that on a bicycle or not. Maybe this is exactly the hidden gem of Reveal The Path. Maybe it isn't a typical film, much less a typical bicycle flick. In many ways, Reveal The Path is more than that, but taken purely as a film, it finds me thinking there is more there that wasn't brought to bear on the screen.
Disclaimer: I am not a film critic, nor do I claim to be one. This is merely my take on my own experience at the film. Your mileage may vary.