Directed: Peter Day
Off The Rails opens in a way that makes you doubt whether the adverts you saw were right about it being a documentary. A soaring aerial shot of two masked young men riding atop a train through the city of London looks like it surely must be staged. But instead, it’s a testament to the power of drone cameras, and the boldness of the films two protagonists.
Off The Rails is comprised of present day testimonials from Aiden, Rikke and their families, alongside raw footage from the pairs YouTube channel.
The stunts are truly impressive, and demonstrate that Aiden, Rikke and their compatriots were genuinely talented when it came to parkour. What really gets the heart racing is watching Rikke’s obsession with riding atop trains grow, getting more and more death defying. At points even having to climb onto the side of moving trains to avoid being crushed.
But at it’s core the film isn’t about parkour, YouTube, or the legal ramifications of the pairs videos. It’s about the desperate things that young men will do to try and outrun their mental trauma, rather than face it.
Early into their journey, the pair lose their closest friend in a traumatic accident, witnessed first-hand by Aiden.
Overall Off The Rails delivers a unique insight into not just the world of adrenaline fuelled internet fame, but a touchingly familiar look at the minds of those who’ve been traumatised early in life.
Many in the audience will be able to connect directly with the emotions and the way the pair describe them, and for those who can’t it provides an insight that cannot be found in many other places.
Director Peter Day has managed to pull a truly touching piece of work from the last place you’d expect it.