Phil Liggett: The Voice of Cycling
Phil Liggett, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O’Grady
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…not only a treat for cycling fans, but more significantly, an insightful exploration of a passionate human being.
Phil Liggett is the voice of cycling, having commentated the sport since the 1970s. He has not only cemented himself as a legend of cycling, but sport in general. Remembering the Man and Mamil directors Nickolas Bird and Eleanor Sharpe team up again to bring his story to light. His iconic voice has reached millions around the world, and now it is time for his story to do the same.
Liggett’s career is explored through the years, dating back to his childhood, where his skill as a cyclist never lived up to his dream of becoming a pro. Each story told by Liggett is complemented by an array of archival photos and footage, ensuring the atmosphere suitably matches the era in discussion, and scenes seamlessly transition thanks to swift editing.
The two-hour run time is one of the few criticisms as scenes feel like they are being repeated at times, with some having little to say. While Phil’s kind-hearted personality lifts these moments, some scenes do not serve a purpose other than to fill time.
Cycling is not always at the forefront, making the documentary accessible to more than just fans of the sport. Liggett’s interests are heavily explored, including his mission to save the African Rhino from extinction. Comparisons between his love for animals and cycling are regularly made, making it easier to understand and relate to the man. Light-hearted scenes showing his impact on the cycling world are sure to bring a smile to the faces of anyone watching – the love for not only the sport, but for Phil shown through the fans is uplifting, demonstrating just how important this man is to some.
But the film is not just a cheerful look at Liggett’s life. Some of his darkest days are on display, including the loss of his long-time commentary partner and close friend Paul Sherwen. The commentator’s personal life is addressed in a delicate manner, making for touching moments. Liggett’s controversial defence of the infamous Lance Armstrong is touched upon but deserves more of the spotlight. But the unlikely emotional punch, using Liggett’s tender words combined with authentic footage, is the defining aspect of the film and is sure to linger in the memory of viewers for quite some time.
Phil Liggett: The Voice of Cycling is not only a treat for cycling fans, but more significantly, an insightful exploration of a passionate human being.
Screening here: https://au.demand.film/phil-liggett/