Hot Docs 2024: Our Review of ‘Fly’

Hot Docs 2024: Our Review of ‘Fly’

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward.”  This famous quote from Leonardo daVinci are words that personify the subjects of Fly, a new documentary from co-directors Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau.  These men and women are BASE jumpers, throwing themselves off high bridges, cliffs or even aircraft with only a parachute, and for some a wingsuit, to stop their fall.

Comparisons to 2018’s Free Solo are likely to abound, and surely the same adrenaline fuels them.  It takes a certain type of person to partake in these sports, where your life is at risk each time.  The subjects are not shy to share stories of injuries or people they’ve lost to jumps gone wrong.  In fact, some of these harrowingly play out on screen.  With the jumpers wearing GoPro cameras to capture much of the footage, you quickly realize that their success is not guaranteed. It quickens the heart, even as your feet are firmly planted.

Fly is slightly overlong, but it uses that time to take us behind the scenes of this sport, allowing us to know members of this close-knit group and following couples who jump together.  They realize that their love makes things difficult.  Having nothing to lose makes stepping off the cliff easier.  They know this is a selfish sport, and perhaps only another BASE jumper can understand the addiction.

In the end, Fly is thrilling and gut-wrenching.  It’s a story of love, loss and resilience.  While I still cannot fathom ever wanting to don a wing suit, this group of death-defying dreamers does have an important lesson to tell about what it means to truly live.  Their lust for life is enviable and something to strive for, no matter what that means to you.

This post was written by
Hillary is a Toronto based writer, though her heart often lives in her former home of London, England. She has loved movies for as long as she can remember, though it was seeing Jurassic Park as a kid that really made it a passion. She has been writing about film since 2010 logging plenty of reviews and interviews since then, especially around festival season. She has previously covered the London Film Festival, TIFF (where she can often be found frantically running between venues) and most recently Sundance (from her couch). She is a member of the Online Association of Female Film Critics. When she’s not watching films or writing about them, she can be found at her day job as a veterinarian. Critic and vet is an odd combination, but it sure is a great conversation starter at an interview or festival!
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