The Devil at Your Heels (Review with Video)

Do limits exist for a reason? Is that reason just to tell someone they can’t do something, because of injury, or because it’s just completely impossible? Is irresponsibility the right way to make a living? Well, Daredevil Ken Carter certainly thought so in this 1981 documentary.

Robert Fortier covers every aspect of the story of Carter’s start. When Carter was an elementary dropout, he made a living delivering groceries. But once he got a motorcycle he explored his dangerous side a little more. And then it turned into a lot more. After many jumps in a car, Carter decided to make his biggest jump, from the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River to a field in New York. But it took longer then expected. A long time of planning and building the proper car and track just wasn’t enough. Other issues included raking in enough money because Carter had spent his life savings on the car alone. Even when everything is ready, attempts kept getting called off for minor reasons.

Now, the average viewer may get bored of all the technical talk about engines going boom, roadwork getting delayed, and people not cooperating, but the story shows how much struggle can go into planning one of the craziest things ever. The documentary clearly shows this, and the points are accurate and well made. Some basic engineering courses really would’ve helped out, but when you get down to it, daredevils risk almost anything just to show how brave/stupid they truly are. Nothing too different from drivers today though…

Interestingly enough, while I was writing this, I heard a car roar by outside, knocking some stuff over.

The Devil at Your Heels by Robert Fortier, National Film Board of Canada

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