Verge Reviews: BASE

Alexander Polli “He showed us that anything is possible, that even men might soar like eagles”.

He was a legendary pioneer in the art of B.A.S.E. jumping and sadly he died on the 22nd of August 2016. At only 31 years old, he crashed into a tree while jumping in the Couloir Ensa near Chamonix in France. B.A.S.E. jumping consists of parachuting or flying in a wing-suit from a fixed structure or cliff. The four categories from which one can jump are as follows, Building, Antenna, Span and Earth which all come together to create B.A.S.E jumping.

Polli was widely known for jumps that had millions of views on YouTube. In 2013, he dropped from a helicopter and flew through the narrow opening of Batman Cave in Montserrat, Spain, while flying at speeds of up to 155 miles per hour. Having trained as a method actor for four years, Polli returned to acting and he became the lead actor and wing-suit pilot in BASE. Sadly as previously mentioned, Alexander died before the film could be released. It’s time to relive his legacy through this film.

JC (Alexander Polli) is a B.A.S.E. jumper, a global playboy who lives his life quite literally on the edge, pursuing man’s greatest dream – to fly. When a jump goes wrong, that dream is violently shattered. Haunted by the event, JC is drawn to his best friend’s lover, ASH (Julie Dray), as he pushes himself harder than ever before – flying lower, closer, faster and recording every moment on film. Soon JC’s dark descent threatens not only his own life but the lives of all those around him. ‘BASE’ follows a man over the edge and watches him fall.

The film is directed by Richard Parry. Also starring alongside Alexander is Julie Dray (Channel 4’s Crashing, Breaking the Bank). The production was completed shortly before Alex’s tragic real-life death and manages to blur the lines between fact and fiction to present a portrait of a B.A.S.E. jumper and proximity flyer. All the jumps are real. There are no stuntmen and no margins for error. Shot heavily on a GoPro, it fuses a dramatic ‘found footage’ cinematic style. It’s a strange case of life imitating art but one that can’t be missed.

It’s one that will you have you in a state of mixed emotions. The film’s choice of shooting heavily on a GoPro can seem a little disorientating at times, but when you see certain shots it really manages to capture the beauty of some of the locations they visit. It will leave you in a state of awe as you watching them climb up mountains and it truly becomes hard to accept that it is real. The way they might lean over the edge can be incredibly terrifying to witness and even process why they would do this? That’s what really sets the film apart, its decision to focus on the mentality of B.A.S.E jumping. As I watch them jump I was becoming scared, how is that even possible?

It want’s you to realise that it takes a certain mentality to perform this art and it wants you to respect the people who do it. It doesn’t hide the fact they might seem crazy to do it but it also shows you a lot of the beauty and joy of it. Its narrative plays out almost like an episode of Black Mirror, as the way JC films all of his life then edits and watches back certain clips can come off very disturbing. This makes it a very interesting narrative to watch unfold rather than just a video or documentary dedicated to base jumping.

One line of dialogue during the film really stuck out to me in particular, JC says “None of us know how much time we have, If you are watching this I could already be gone”. That line is in relation to the film’s narrative and as mentioned this film was made before JC died in real life. But that one line added a whole new level of depth to the film. It emphasises on that fear you might feel throughout as a few times watching this, I thought to myself how incredible some of the jumps they were doing were, but then at the same time I was upset as I reminded myself of the reality. That’s what I feel was the most powerful feature of BASE, it helped me respect and understand the art of B.A.S.E jumping and Alex Polli’s legacy.

BASE is in UK Cinemas 27 October and available Worldwide on iTunes and On Demand from 6th November#BASEMovie

Check Out The Trailer:

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