I Am Bolt ***Dir: Benjamin Turner, Gabe Turner. Documentary with: Usain Bolt, Pele, Neymar, Serena Williams. 107 mins. Cert: PG
What makes Usain Bolt run? The Turner brothers’ understandably awed survey of how the Jamaican sprinter got from there to here in record time benefits from tailing its subject over a period – between Beijing 2015 and Rio 2016 – when his supremacy faced unprecedented threats: nightclubbing injuries, a hunger diminishing in inverse proportion to his distractibility, rivals new (Yohan Blake) and old (Justin Gatlin). If Bolt’s once-in-a-lifetime talent continues to defy all explanation, the Turners bring us close enough to it to witness bugs swarming over nerveless knuckles on the start line; they also spot how crucial coach Glen Mills is in reframing the training his charge loathes as the kind of play – partying at high speed, in straight lines – he might still lunge towards. Raised high on the big screen, the victories look even easier, more jaw-droppingly elemental: flashes of lightning, allowing us to share in the pleasure of watching a fellow human doing something simple preternaturally well.
I Am Bolt opens in selected cinemas from today, ahead of its DVD release on Monday.