Movie Review – Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist (2014)

Director: James Erskine

This documentary tells the story of renowned Italian cyclist Marco Pantani aka ‘The Pirate’, one of the most flamboyant cyclist and with the talent to back it up. It shows his rise to success, and the fall that followed as he became addicted to drugs and cast aside by the people for whom he was racing.

For the most part this documentary is a good watch. Pantani seemed like a likeable rider, and had many fans. His talent was clear as well, and while the documentary gives a good overview of his career and achievements I don’t feel it delved into the psychology of the man as deeply as it could have.

Much of the film covers the doping scandal at the time, and this is where things get hazy. Pantani was found guilty of doping, and while the documentary hints that the evidence may have been fabricated or the charges unfounded, it rather glides over this fact, preferring to keep the reverent tone. It also glosses over his death somewhat, which was surprising given the title of the film.

It certainly shed light on a subject and a man that I knew next to nothing about prior to watching the film, but it seems more concerned with leaving a positive impression of Pantani than exploring the doping allegations and the death to come to more informative and certain conclusions.

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