Dust to Glory

20 Mar
Dana Brown, who took over the Endless Summer surf-documentary series from his father with Step into Liquid (2003), returns to dry land with this wham-bam chronicle of the Baja 1000 dirt race. Employing helmet and hood cams, Brown delivers the jolts and the bravado in heart-pumping bursts, including two souped-up pick-ups careering off each other and a roadside RV as they blow through the main drag of a Mexican village packed with locals and spectators — at 140 mph. But Dust to Glory isn’t all breakneck machismo. As in Liquid, Brown probes the subject’s heart, uncovering its history and the bit players who hit the goat paths for the love of the race. The Baja, which began in 1967, has involved as participants or observers such luminaries as James Garner, Steve McQueen and, at the time Brown was filming, Mario Andretti. One intrepid entrant even attempts the entire 1000 miles (15 to 30 hours) on his own as opposed to the usual team of riders/drivers. Brown gets it all down with pit-stop efficiency until the final lap, when the film rambles in on vapors. (97 minutes)


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