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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Sports > Swimming > Big River Man (2009/Umbrella Entertainment/Region Four/4/PAL)

Big River Man (2009/Umbrella Entertainment/Region Four/4/PAL)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Documentary: B-



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region 4 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



Martin Strel is a man whose life has been about taking on the toughest in endurance challenges around and at a much older age than he used to be, takes on that and much more in John Maringouin’s Big River Man (2009), a new documentary about the man and his determination to set more world records and call attention to environmental abuses.  A Slovenian national hero, he is a unique character and takes this trip with his family at his side.


Some of what we see is totally expected of the able-bodied, tough guy approach that became a pop culture staple in the 1980s, but there are also other interesting moments and a few embarrassing ones.  Of course, Mr. Strel is not in the shape he used to be in, so you wonder what his limits are, but he holds in there more than you’d expect and the piece is not as exploitive as it could have been.


Not a great piece, but a good one that knows how to be a documentary and not an exploitive “reality TV” type piece, you’ll enjoy it if the subject seems interesting.  However, it never exceeds its story and may not be for everyone.  Otherwise, it is not bad.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 picture is often soft and mixed in quality due to both the documentary nature of the production and mix of video formats, usually low def digital at best.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is not bad for so much location audio, but is stereo at best.  Extras include a trailer for this and other Umbrella releases, and 25 minutes of Q&A on the film from the 2009 Sydney Film Festival.



As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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