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Into the Wind (2010)

by on 2013/09/26

Into the Wind (2010)“I believe in miracles. I have to.”

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Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope began in 1980 with him dipping one foot in the Atlantic. It ended with, well, did it ever really end?

The true story recreated in 2005’s Terry is documented in this ESPN special, Into the Wind, directed by Steve Nash and Ezra Holland. Without marketing fluff, much exposure, or hype, it gives us the facts we’re familiar with, and maybe a few more besides.

We hear about the stench of Fox’s pace van, how his brother Darrell’s humour kept him going, and how he ascended from obscurity to celebrity just crossing into Ontario.

We also drop back into the past to learn about his childhood in Vancouver, a pre-teen meeting with friend Doug Alward, and how his athleticism went from sub par to superb until – or rather in spite of – a fateful 1976 diagnosis.

Finally we jump past his death, into the future (our present) for reminiscing. Interviews with friends and family, as well as writers Leslie Scrivener (The Toronto Star) and Douglas Coupland (Souvenir of Canada) appear throughout the documentary. Occasional scenes show the elder Alward retracing Fox’s route.

New location work bolsters original footage of the run, news coverage, and public appearances, sometimes underscored by radio interviews, and journals read aloud by Taylor Kitsch (Gambit of X-Men Origins: Wolverine).

It’s a thrilling, inspiring story, and fairly balanced in its telling but – at the risk of sounding churlish despite the inevitable five-star rating – I take some issue with the presentation here. The anachronistic treatment of the vintage stills is distracting. Rapid-fire montages feel sensational and pointless. Fast motion provides unneeded dynamism. And the blurring, jerky shots of prosthetic limbs and their smaller parts seem out-of-place, more appropriate in the credits of Se7en.

What impressed me most about Into the Wind was not (just) the story of Terry Fox, but what else I learned that I hadn’t already known, or at least remembered. I already knew, for example, about the abuses he suffered in Quebec, but details like the “freak” incident, his fellow cancer patients, and the stories of life in the van were all new to me. Together they succeeded in making him even more well-rounded, more human and, ultimately, more heroic.

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52 minutes

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  1. Souvenir of Canada (2006) | Geek vs Goth

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