Saturday, April 9, 2011

"The Potential Inside:" A Movie Review

The Potential Inside is a mountain bike movie in the truest sense of the word "movie:" I.E. it is scripted, with a plot line and actors. In a short letter from Scotty Curlee who directed and produced this movie (and also starred in it), this is the "first-ever narrative feature on the sport of mountain bike racing in the history of film."

As I thought about it, I realized that the only other mountain bike films that I have seen have been montage-style flicks featuring insane riding, or documentaries featuring extensive interviews about real events. But never before have I seen a mountain bike movie like this, with a plot line that is as much about riding as it is about a story.


The first thing that stood out to me sharply as I began watching The Potential Inside were the talented camera shots and incredible editing. Frankly, all of the riding scenes in the movie are beautifully done. The swooping cable-cam shots from the deep east coast forests and the creative stationary angles portrayed singletrack mountain biking in a very authentic and exciting way, giving me a craving to get my own tires dirty! They even make road biking interesting to watch!

My wife and I both noticed that the musical scores chosen were perfectly suited for the various situations, and were crucial in adding suspense to the movie. Watching two riders grind slowly up a steep doubletrack climb with one having to get off and run: not interesting. But add a dose of personal enmity and a suspenseful soundtrack, and all of a sudden you have an edge-of-your-seat mountain bike race!

Photo Credit: The Potential Inside


Before we began watching, I was worried that the story would be contrived and that it would function merely to string together the various mountain biking sequences. Oh how wrong I was! Some of the set up to the overall story at the beginning of the movie seemed a little rushed and cliche, but it was over quickly as the producers had more important things to think about in regards to the larger story.

I don't want to give away the plot line because you really need to go out and buy this movie, but suffice it to say that it was gripping and suspenseful enough to keep my wife engaged, who only mountain bikes once in a while. In fact, some scenes were so emotionally moving that it brought my wife to tears... so yes, the plot and the acting were very believable!

Photo Credit: The Potential Inside

Riding VS. Plot

In many movies that I have watched that feature a scripted plot centered around an extreme sport, one of the two seems to be lacking: either the plot line, or the athletic displays.

Oftentimes, it is the sport in question that seems kind of faked. It might not be big, glaring instances that make you think "that's just not right," it is usually the small things such as jargon, how the athlete holds his gear when he's not using it, or the mentality of the sport as a whole may be missing from the movie. I can safely say that this is not the case for The Potential Inside. This movie accurately portrays the pulse of the sport of mountain biking! In order to make this happen, the producers recruited some genuine talent: "Jeremiah Bishop and Hunter Allen are a part of the cast and Chris Eatough even contributed on the project."

I mean, just look at these legs... you know that's a real cyclist:

Photo Credit: The Potential Inside

Christian Themes

As a Christian, I loved the spiritual overtones and the greater message that there is more to life than just riding your bike. While mountain biking may be fun and some of us who are really lucky may even make our living at it, the people in our lives are so much more important than the next ride or race!

This is a theme that I think even non-Christians can agree with, so personally I think this movie is enjoyable no matter who you are!

But don't just take my word for all of this... check out the trailer yourself:

The DVD is already available for pre-order, and it will officially be releasing on April 19th.

Thanks to Red Cloud Productions for providing this movie for review!


Anonymous,  April 12, 2011 at 8:36 PM  

Awesome review, makes me want to go out and buy one!

Matthew,  April 16, 2011 at 10:45 AM  

I want to get it as well. I showed the promo to my wife and she said lets go rent it!

Greg Heil April 17, 2011 at 12:51 AM  

Sweet dude, I hope you enjoy it!

Unknown April 21, 2011 at 12:56 PM  

Thanks for reviewing this movie. I didnt knew about it. There is not that many movies that are good to watch about our sport. Again, Thanks. I just bought it for support and look at it as many times as needed to keep getting motivated to ride better.

Greg Heil April 21, 2011 at 7:05 PM  

No problem, glad to be of service!

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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