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  Mosley Driving Ambition
Year: 2020
Director: Michael Shevloff
Stars: Max Mosley, Bernie Eccleston, Gerhard Berger, Hugh Grant
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Max Mosley is in India, pursuing his interest in road safety since in that country there is one of the highest mortality rates in road accidents in the world, and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. What he wants to do is get cars with five star safety ratings onto Indian streets, and he is willing to push for the NCAP, the body that oversees the subject, to influence the production and distribution of these vehicles, not only in India, but across the globe. But that is not what Max is best known for. He has had a chequered past, one that has come back to bite him over and over again...

Mention Max Mosley to most people and their mind will probably go to three different places: his fascist parents, his leadership of Formula 1 motor racing, or his sex scandal that saw him across the newspapers. He died in May 2021, a couple of months before this documentary was widely released in his native land, so would not see the reaction it garnered, though you cannot imagine the main news outlets would be keen to give him the oxygen of publicity given his tussles with them over the matter of press freedom. Or more accurately, press invasion of privacy, as he had the money to go after the News of the World when they printed lies about him.

Watching the latter half of this, it is clear outlets like The Daily Mail and the Rupert Murdoch papers like The Sun and The Times have never forgiven them for trying to hold them to account in a way that politicians, who are terrified of negative headlines, were reluctant to do. Mosley highlighted the incredible power the press, specifically the right-wing press though The Mirror were involved too, have over the tide of public debate in the world, and initially questioned whether someone's private life is in the public interest if they are doing no harm to anyone else, because the press certainly do inflict harm, and lives have been ended because of them, including Max's son who committed suicide partly because of the stress.

A whole ninety minutes on this matter would be interesting enough, but of course there was a tug of war, if a tug of war can go four ways, against Mosley's upbringing in a house of fascists - both his father Oswald and his mother Diana Mitford - the press scandals, the Formula 1 trials and tribulations, and finally his promotion of road safety, the latter you get the impression he would prefer this documentary to be covering. And it does, with footage of him attending crash tests, meeting with politicians who can get laws changed, and emphasising the racism of the car manufacturers who valued Western lives over those in the less wealthy countries where they did nothing to improve safety parameters because it was cheaper not to. As one interviewee says, it's amazing to think the companies did not believe safety could be a major selling point.

As for his parents, Mosley admits this will be something he will never live down, and we can see while he may have grown up admiring his father (leader of the British fascists in the nineteen-thirties), once he found motor racing he was able to break free of him and find his own voice, even dabbling in left wing politics for a while. But for the action, it is that F1 leadership that will be the biggest draw, detailing his near-obsession with safety (the subject comes up again and again), though after the nightmare weekend of accidents at Imola 1994 which claimed two lives, Ayrton Senna among them, which were under Mosley's watch, we can understand why he was so preoccupied. If he comes across in interviews as either an old smoothie or redoubtably unapologetic, then it could be the film doesn't manage to sum up its focus given his own focus was so diverse, but it does allot decent amounts of screen time to one of those public figures who, if you were to invent him, would seem far-fetched. Music by Adam Peters.

[Mosley: It's Complicated will be in UK Cinemas from 9th July, with tickets available - click here - and will be on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download from 19th July 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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