Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything
Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything chronicles the life of the titular snooker legend, from his meteoric rise to the top of the game from the age of 16 to his current relationship with it at the age of 46.
The documentary strikes an impressive balance between being comprehensive and compelling, charting O’Sullivan’s colourful and storied career in great detail while keeping things interesting and, critically, accessible to a wider audience. Prospective viewers don’t need to know anything about snooker to enjoy the piece, but it puts in a lot of work to show both the massive cultural impact of snooker and the reasons that people enjoy it.
However, The Edge of Everything’s biggest strength is perhaps its emphasis on O’Sullivan as a person, and the deep levels of trust established between him and the film crew that permeate the entire production. Great care was taken not to sensationalise the snooker player’s life, placing the human before the headlines and creating a deeply intimate work that speaks to universal human experiences just as much as it does snooker.
The Edge of Everything was designed to “speak to a filmic audience”, and that certainly comes across in its stylish and engaging cinematography, mixing a variety of different filming conventions to effectively paint a multi-faceted portrait of O’Sullivan as a person and an athlete.
As well as the close, unfettered glimpses into his present-day life on the snooker circuit, the documentary works in archival footage from his earlier years (with some very neat “time travel” camera tricks to join the two together) and interviews with O’Sullivan’s friends and loved ones, including insights from Damien Hirst and The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood, as well as his parents.
There are a lot of moving parts here, but the documentary does a remarkable job of making every individual component work as part of a cohesive whole, while also keeping the cinematic experience constantly fresh and exciting throughout.
Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything is a documentary about snooker, and one of the sport’s greatest players, but critically it’s also a piece about family, artistry, self-destruction, love and much more, and it’s a testament to the passion that Studio 99’s team had for O’Sullivan’s story that the archival and emotional parts of the film weave into each so seamlessly without compromising any narrative momentum.
Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything is released in select cinemas on 21st November 2023.
Watch the trailer for Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything here: