Sports documentaries usually go one of two ways, informative or entertaining, and sometimes manage to meld the two into something unique. All For One, a look into the formative years of Australian WorldTour road team GreenEdge, falls short of the blend but does achieve a healthy dose of entertainment. If you’re looking for in-depth analysis and insights into the world of professional cycling though, you may be disappointed.
Seen mainly through the lens of Dan Jones, the Backstage Pass series of videos that are hugely popular on YouTube are featured heavily here, and relive some of the great stories and achievements of the team’s riders, and the behind the scenes footage of the hijinks and relaxed attitude of the team shine the brightest throughout the two hours. There were plenty of laughs from the audience, usually at the profanity-laden dialogue in the team cars as the riders experience the exhilarating highs and debilitating lows that are intrinsic of professional sport, and cycling probably more than most. The timeline style narrative reminds those who are familiar with the team’s progress just how far and rapidly they have come, establishing them in the top echelon of the previously Euro-dominated world and injecting stereotypical Aussie larrikinism into a traditionally staid and serious environment. It certainly didn’t hinder GreenEdge’s rise in popularity among fans, but results are what matter at the top level, and the big wins in the Monuments and Grand Tours feature heavily unsurprisingly. It seemed a tad strange that the film pulled up short of Chaves’ win at Il Lombardia in 2016, especially as his story of recovery from injury is a major part of the film, possibly too much at the expense of other great characters like Mitch Docker and Peter Weening.
A major omission from the film is any mention at all of the GreenEdge women’s team, which has run concurrently with the men’s team since the beginning. Instead of taking a golden opportunity to promote women’s cycling and their team in particular, it seems odd that the ladies don’t even get a cursory look-in. In that regard, the film veers extremely close to a sausage fest, with all the blokey jokey pranks and F-bombs galore. Even I, who swears like a c*nt, found them wearing a little thin by the end of the film. Neil Stephens, Matt White and Stuey O’Grady might be larrikins, but all I see when I look at them is omerta.
All For One is no doubt a good watch with some good laughs and great race and BTS footage, but left me wanting a little more insight that I hadn’t already seen or read about, which might be the case for other fans as well. But for the general sports fan, or those not too familiar with the story of the first Australian pro team, it’s definitely worth a watch. I can only hope that there’s a film for the ladies’ team coming soon…