A review of “Dust to Glory” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: *** 1/2

Rating: PG for intense situations

Run Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

 

 

Writer/director Dana Brown (Step Into Liquid) doesn’t let a mote of dust settle in this raucous ode to the hyper-intense sport of long-distance racing.

The Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 is the pinnacle of hardcore cross-country races, a gritty thousand miles of gullies, rocks and mountains that tests the best of men.  It’s the 24-hour plane crash of extreme sport.

One hundred miles south of San Diego (in the laid-back seaport of Ensenada) those with a need for speed gather for racing’s most testosterone-laced prize.  From the little guy to the big, the famous to the anonymous, some twelve-hundred participants with excess adrenaline coursing through their veins tumble into two-hundred plus buggies, beetles, jeeps, trucks and motorcycles and take to the back-roads with a vengeance. 

As one participant aptly explains it, the Baja 1000 is like holding a piece of dynamite and keeping the explosion in your hand. Ten-thousand close calls and tons of bent metal define this thrilling off-road adventure, a radical badge of honor earned with blood, sweat and tears and a never-say-die spirit.

The Baja 1000 is a family affair, entry passed down from generation to generation as a rite of passage.  Even the women get into the act, staunchly refusing to be shut out of the exhilarating boys-only bacchanalia (You go girls!).

A nail-biting motorcycle sequence is this catchy documentary’s calling card, crackling with the thrill of the chase. Brown’s narration is witty and as dry as the parched landscape, though occasionally lapsing into a cloying gee-whiziness. 

Fraught with humor and anarchic charm, Dust is a must.