The Edge

The Edge (Barney Douglas, UK, 2019) documents the historic rise and fall of the English cricket team between 2009 and 2013, in which they progressed through the ICC rankings from seventh to first (the only England team to do so since records began). With talking heads from all the key England players of the period such as James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Kevin Pietersen. As well as coach Andy Flower who instigated change, pushing the team to champion status. The documentary could not have set its field better edging itself into the hands of sports fans who have enjoyed one of the greatest English cricketing summers. 

From the start of the film, we are swept along with the team on their mission to become number one. The film pushes the viewer to desire success in the same way the players do. We are hit for six without worrying about the player waiting to catch us out until it’s too late. This is where the documentary really coms into its own. It not only documents the monumental achievements, but also the psychological strain of such accomplishments. Presented not only through the use of talking heads and personal accounts but more effectively through visualisations. The heart of the film is found in the unlikely form of Jonathon Trott’s visualisations. Early in the film, Trott explains, how, when batting he goes to an inner sanctum to escape the hostile environment at the crease; conceptualised visually as a peaceful field. As the pressure starts to mount Trott’s visualisations increasingly become distorted. First, the peaceful blue sky turns darker, soon being replaced by a city looming over him. Finally, as he is driven to tears on the field Trott is submerged underwater surrounded by nothingness. The dreamlike qualities of these visualisations add a layer of nervous beauty to the film. 

As for the rest of the film, the majority of the documentary elements blend well to create a cohesive narrative. However, there is a slightly heavier weighting toward focuses on the ashes as opposed to other test matches. In addition, the Kevin Pietersen controversy is once again brought back into the discussion. Although impossible to ignore too much empathises is put on the over deliberated topic, adding nothing of significance to the conversation. From the perspective of increasing objectivity, it would have been beneficial to include talking heads from key players from outside the England setup. Aside from objectivity, it would have been interesting to see how the rivalries were perceived from opposing teams. Nevertheless, the documentary made good use of archive content record by individuals surrounding the England dressing room at the time. Victory parties in the dressing room, squad days out and behind the scenes shots on match days and training sessions are littered throughout adding to the sense of comradery and humour. 

The Edge delicately makes vulnerable the pressures of high-stake sport, whilst charting one of the most successful periods of English cricket. These notions are portrayed with beautiful cinematography and concise narrative cohesion. A must watch for the sport and documentary lover alike. 

 The Edge
(2019) on IMDb