Shapeless and self-indulgent, "B.I.K.E." spends too little time focused on its nominal subject while devoting far too much footage to the psychological meltdown of pic's co-director Anthony Howard. There might be an interesting 30-minute docu buried in this often-tedious 89-minute package. In its current form, however, pic won't pedal far.

Shapeless and self-indulgent, “B.I.K.E.” spends too little time focused on its nominal subject — the Black Label Bicycle Club, a radical and rowdy bunch of self-styled anti-materialists — while devoting far too much footage to the psychological meltdown of pic’s co-director Anthony Howard. There might be an interesting 30-minute docu buried in this often-tedious 89-minute package. In its current form, however, pic won’t pedal far.

Best scenes offer intriguing glimpses into group dynamics of the underground bike club. Although Black Label originally was established by militantly anti-corporate types, members of the New York branch appear more concerned with brutal jousting tournaments in which participants do battle while riding double-decker “tallbikes.” At the urging of co-director Jacob Septimus, Howard attempts to join the New York branch, even as his personal life deteriorates. (After his junkie girlfriend abandons him, he starts drinking and drugging heavily.) Unfortunately, Howard becomes ever more unbearably obnoxious as he spirals out of control. Even more unfortunately, his self-destructive behavior overshadows pic’s potentially interesting study of internecine tensions in Black Label membership. Tech values are, to put it charitably, uneven.

B.I.K.E.

Production

A Fountainhead Films presentation of a Voyvak production. Produced by Fredric King, Jacob Septimus. Co-producer, Max Good. Directed by Jacob Septimus, Anthony Howard.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Septimus, Howard; editor, Ron Patane. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Feb. 14, 2006. (In Slamdance Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 89 MIN.

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