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Big Issue, The
(Doco) Profile of one of the world's most successful and controversial climbers, John Dunne.

Format Video Category Non-Fiction
Title Big Issue, The  Mins  
Starring John Dunne  RRP  
Director Northern Films  Reviews
Edition 1998?  Ave Rating *** (3.00 of 5)

Reviews  

User Comments
Nottobetaken
15/02/2006
***
It seems that whatever Johnn Dunne does in the world of climbing, he attracts controversy. This film - which summarises some of his best ascents at the time of its release - carries with it the same baggage. The film is named after the climb (by the same name) Dunne made the first ascent of in Pembroke at E9 (30R). The title (like the route) basically gives you some indication of what to expect. Straightaway the narrative will get on your nerves, with a tone not unlike a television sports reporter commenting on his favourite cricket player. Backing that up is 'sensationalist' music - dramatising virtually every ascent. It's over the top and unnecessary. Dunne has proven his skills as a climber numerous times via his routes - we don't need some punter trying to persuade us as well!

Outside of this gripe - the film does its best to show a variety of climbs - and not just cutting-edge ones. Unsurprisingly given that Dunne is British, all of these routes are filmed within the UK. Climbs range from Partheon Shot (E9/30R); The New Statesman (E8/28X); Wellington Crack (E4/23) - solo; Breach of the Peace (30) to name but a few. Halfway through the film we are treated to a cleverly (purposefully) staged interview by Mark Radtke - conveniently at the base of a new boulder problem - Sloping Beauty (then given English 7a (V10/11) - now considered V8). The problem was put up by Dunne's longtime rival Johnny Dawes a week prior. Dunne attempts to settle the score (presumably with Dawes and the Sheffield climbing community at large) by answering probing questions about his climbing past - then demonstrates his ability to the camera by sending the boulder problem in 5 tries - as if to say "take that - Johnny!" One wonders why he didn't just give the guy a call - then meet him down at the local pub for a couple of pints instead.

The film finishes with footage of him on Divided Years - a route in Northern Ireland which Dunne gave E10 (33R/X) (since repeated by Dave Birkett who thought 31R).

At the end of it all though you are left wondering - what really was 'The Big Issue'?
 


Further Reading:
Planet Fear - A review, details, etc.

 

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