Review: Out of Nothing

Title: Out of Nothing
MPAA Rating: NR
Director: Chad DeRosa
Starring: Mark Bjorklund, Carl Bjorklund, Jason Omer, Bill Woods
Runtime: 1 hr 30 min

What It Is: A documentary following a quartet of friends brought together through a mutual passion for assembling motorcycles. Charting their journey from the Pacific Northwest to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where they’ll battle to conquer the world records of motorcycle land speed racing.

What We Think: We’re introduced to the group consisting of brothers Mark and Carl Bjorklund, Jason Omer and Bill Woods as they’re heading off to their day jobs. Mostly involving manual work, building out of necessity to pay the bills, whereas after-hours construction becomes a labor of love. It quickly becomes apparent that regardless of your interest (or lack of) in motorcycles, although it’s impossible not to marvel at the pure craftsmanship and innovation on display, Out of Nothing has a surprising, far-reaching edge. From finding time for creative outlets even when life gets in the way, to perseverance and accepting failure. Director DeRosa highlights the four relatable men, strengths and weaknesses included, positioning them at the center of his documentary, rather than their machines. Exercising demons takes priority over history books for some. While for others, the quest to break records is for personal glory, as fame and money do not come with the territory.

While remaining grounded with an emphasis on personalities, individual goals and the community spirit of Bonneville, Out of Nothing still manages to be gripping. After a swift but effective rundown of the rules, you get swept up in the escalating tension as speeds soar, anticipation grows and emotions intensify. You also become lost within the spectacular landscape, Brad Fisher provides mesmerizing time-lapse photography and on double duty as cinematographer, DeRosa captures sprawling, endless vistas that are truly breathtaking. At a glance (and exchanging sand for salt), aerial shots of insane mechanical creations roaring through vast emptiness could be mistaken for a scene in a Mad Max movie.

Our Grade: B, DeRosa’s polished, well-paced documentary has unexpected broad appeal. Whether you’re uninitiated or a fan of land speed racing, Out of Nothing transcends its subject matter with engaging, real-life characters and universal themes.