Head Above Water Swimming Documentary Review
Head above the water ★★★
Amazon Prime Video
It’s convenient that this new documentary series doesn’t have a single holistic perspective – viewers can get whatever they want out of it. Those looking for a series of typically adorable sports profiles will certainly find it. Others will find it to be a surreal journey full of real puzzle moments.
The concept is good: follow four swimmers at very different stages in their lives and careers as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics. Ian Thorpe is the retired champion who still finds his way in post-competition life, mentoring young swimmers and working to support LGBT causes. Bronte Campbell, who just turned 27, is the veteran hoping his body will withstand what will likely be his last Olympics. Kyle Chalmers is the ambitious young gold medalist entering his prime, while junior champion turned pop star Cody Simpson is the underdog trying to break into the Australian team halfway around the world in Florida.
Director Gil Marsden, who also brought us Amazon’s AFL documentary series, Make their mark, avoids storytelling, letting observation and interviews with swimmers and their coaches tell the story. Simpson comes across as perhaps the most grounded and rounded of the lot – the sound of others begging for sympathy for their “sacrifices” from their privileged positions quickly fades. Ironies abound – Chalmers says it’s hard to deal with the physical and mental limits of his training regimen while having fun with captive reptiles that spend their days in plastic containers on shelves in his home .
Elsewhere, the details are incredibly elusive. Thorpe’s explanation to young swimmers about how some gold might be up for grabs this time around is changed to inconsistency (a tactical decision, perhaps). We don’t really understand a breakthrough with Chalmers’ shoulder. When Campbell undergoes acupuncture or a similar treatment involving 20 needles in his back, there is no question of the scientific basis for it, nor of “cupping” or any other alternative therapy that might have been found in the back. Australian Olympic set. -up.
The series succeeds in showing that swimming is more of a team sport than you might think, but as always, there is no “thank you” to the most vital member of the team – the great Australian taxpayer. In any case, this all fits perfectly with Amazon’s streaming coverage of the 2021 Australian Swimming Trials, which begins Saturday, June 12 on the Gold Coast.
In 1999, London was rocked by a series of bombings in places synonymous with the city’s black, South Asian and gay communities.