That old adage ‘you should never judge a book by its cover’ is so often true. But what of DVDs? It’s a new media and surely all the bright young things who indulge themselves in film-making have an eye for design, so if nothing else, the cover will be good.
‘Arrows of Fire’ the new film by Duncan Menge and Josh Evans, scores incredibly highly on the packaging and I’ll admit to experiencing something of a frisson when I ripped open the delivery. The sleeve notes are elegantly designed, the artwork and imagery top class and they’re all presented in a little tin circular box designed to look like an old cine-film canister; all cues that these guys are serious about film. Actually they are serious about photography too and that’s how they professionally trained.
The last movie of theirs that Overland had the pleasure of reviewing; ‘Eye of the Rider’, was of an absolutely terrific adventure in the Snowy Mountains region of Australia. For this one they’re a team of four riding the same 110cc Honda postie bikes (and a KTM) into the heart of the Aussie flat, red outback.
The great camera angles, filmography and similar professionalism abounds, but this is definitely not ‘more of the same’. For this journey and film there is a central catalytic moment around which everything hinges, forcing the whole feel of the film to be different. To be fair, so does the rather flat featureless landscape which can never provide the riding excitement of the mountains which acted as the backdrop to their last.
Arrows of Fire is more reportage – onbike and dynamic footage interspersed with reflective monologue from each of the protagonists. It examines motorcycle travel and relationships but isn’t accompanied by witty narration in the previous manner. There isn’t as much dry Australian interactive dialogue either, but there is an inner honesty that isn’t often given much space in adventure motorcycle films. In fact I’m not absolutely sure it fits within the genre, but then it does feature bikes with knobbly tyres, some huge landscapes and the route less travelled, so who knows? Are there strict parameters to adventure motorcycling anyway?
If judging the success of a film like this depends on whether or not it’ll make you travel, then I’d best not judge it. It may make you question the efficacy of the whole thing, but then perhaps that is exactly what it tries to do. As it says on the tin, it’s about comradeship, discovery and endurance and perhaps it’s best you just watch it.
It’s not yet distributed in the UK but we hope to have some copies available in the future.
review by Paddy Tyson
Arrows of Fire. 65mins. A Film by Duncan Menge and Josh Evans
Lost Highway Productions, email@example.com