It is a bit of a letdown if one goes into watching Base without knowing about Alexander Polli beforehand; judging it on face-value without his backstory might alter one’s experience. UK filmmaker Richard Parry’s action drama centres around Polli, who was not an actor, rather a Norwegian-Italian world-renowned BASE, sky and wingsuit jumper.
If one goes into this screening knowing about Polli already, then it will likely be an enjoyable ride. Others may be somewhat disappointed. The BASE jumper plays the main character JC, who is not that likeable and seems selfish and lonely until the last ten or 15 minutes of the film. Julie Dray, who portrays Ash, is first Chico’s girlfriend and later JC’s. She is fine as an actress until it comes to the emotional scenes when something feels a bit lacking. It’s a shame that the script could not be trimmed more to adapt to the limited acting skills of Polli and to a lesser degree Dray. The plot is also a bit predictable and cliché at times.
Parry took his actors to exotic jumping locales, shooting on location in Brazil, Switzerland, Italy, France and Norway. It makes one wonder about the movie’s budget. The shots of actual jumps and scenes in the ocean are quite impressive. A major strength of Base is the wingsuit GoPro footage that shows Polli and others soaring through the air as if they are birds without a care in the world. A number of these more extended jump sequences edited together are accompanied by some gentle melodic acoustic music, which is interesting.
Knowing that Polli is a world-famous jumper one realises that the GoPro footage was most likely all real. The shaky tendency of the double cameras that JC carries throughout most of the feature often creates a dizzying effect. Base clocks in at exactly 83 minutes, although that still feels too long. Perhaps it would have been better as a short film or better yet as an actual documentary on the real Polli who would likely be more likeable and believable than his character JC.
Parry’s movie will probably be popular among hardcore BASE jumping fans and maybe even more mainstream audiences due to Polli’s 2016 accident in the French Alps that resulted in his death at the age of 31. The tribute to him at the end of the film is touching and reinforces the message that the director is trying to convey throughout.
Base is released in selected cinemas on 27th October 2017.
Watch the trailer for Base here: