Gamble | A Mountain Bike Movie
The stakes are high. When you invite 11 of the world's best racers to a game of downhill poker, you better be ready for a showdown of epic proportions, because these guys only know one way to play - all in. With no tape, no clock and no rules, the fastest bike riders on the planet are free to do their thing, and that is all you need to know about the premise for Gamble, the brainchild of Joe Bowman and Aaron Bartlett (Steel City Media and Creative Concept, respectively).
Set in a gritty gym, Gamble's backstory takes us deep into a dark underworld of gangsters, illegal gambling, and dirty fight nights. Getting Alan Ford (of "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" fame) to narrate it all is a two-in-one, icing on the cake and production value deal that raises the bar for the voice-over game. All you budding movie-makers out there, you might want to be looking for a way in with Morgan Freeman for your next project, because we don't know where else you go from here...
But as Brick Top - sorry, Alan - said, we're not here to muck about. And backstory or no backstory, Gamble doesn't waste any time before things get rowdy. Once the scene is set, the story takes a backseat to the riding, and boy oh boy is the riding good. From Madeira to Retallack, from Sheffield to Pila, many of the tracks we built just for the movie. There's an abundance of fresh dirt, big berms and huge hucks, and the common denominator is speed. You don't invite racers to cut some jibs, and Gamble is as unapologetic about its purpose as Ratboy is about his lifestyle. This one is all about pinning it, and there's not a single crown fork nor a dirt jump in sight.
You might think that shooting the best riders in the world is like stealing candy from a kid, but these guys are so fast that it takes a good game plan and some serious camera-ninja skills to make sure it sticks on tape.
The Gamble cast is an exclusive club of riders who don't just ride fast, they look damn good doing it too. Take one look at Blenki laying waste to the mountains of Argentina and you'll know what we mean. Capturing the essence of each rider's style is no mean feat, but the filming and editing proved more than up to the task here. Supported by a high-energy soundtrack, Gamble is shot tight and the action is in your face. Slomos and drone shots are used only to highlight the shredding, and the editing tricks are few and far between, but the quality of the camera work is second to none. You might think that shooting the best riders in the world is like stealing candy from a kid, but these guys are so fast that it takes a good game plan and some serious camera-ninja skills to make sure it sticks on tape. If we were still using tape, that is.
They come into some sections so fast that at times, the trail seems reduced to a mere suggestion of the general direction of travel, there only to provide the occasional landing patch for the tires as they carve their way down the mountain with complete disregard for health, safety, and the unbreakable laws of physics that only the very best may occasionally ignore.
If we were asked to sum up Gamble in one word, it would be "loose". We were blown away at just how far these guys were willing to push the boat out, but you might want to think twice about trying to copy them on your next ride - it's one thing to have the balls to write a big check, you gotta have the skills to cash it too. These riders have both, in abundance. They come into some sections so fast that at times, the trail seems reduced to a mere suggestion of the general direction of travel, there only to provide the occasional landing patch for the tires as they carve their way down the mountain with complete disregard for health, safety, and the unbreakable laws of physics that only the very best may occasionally ignore. Blenki went to Bariloche, and he left nothing but destruction in his wake. Bruni blasted his way down the magical dirt of Madeira in a way that would have made Brendog and Clay Porter proud. Finn Iles pounded Pila, and Connor Fearon made his flat pedals thunder in Retallack. And just to keep everybody on their toes, Minnaar pulled a superman seatgrab at Darkfest, while Peaty sent a container on-off in Sheffield.
Two years ago, the mountain biking world lost a friend, and one of the best racers ever to sling a leg over a bicycle. Gamble pays homage to Stevie Smith with its closing chapter, leaving us both inspired and a little sad. Mark Wallace got the nod for this one, and he served the part with honor and dignity. #longlivechainsaw
Gamble Cast:Greg MinnaarJosh BrycelandSteve PeatLoic BruniBrook MacdonaldSam BlenkinsopConnor FearonMark WallaceFinn IlesPhil Atwill