Have you ever wondered why we’re drawn to speed? I’m not talking about the sensation that a Hyundai Genesis owner gets beating a rental-spec Charger. I mean the concept as its most basic—the same peculiar reason why we’re attracted to the hypercars that make no compromises about being unadulterated speed machines. I’ve never really given the idea much thought, but that changed after watching APEX: The Story of the Hypercar.
(Full disclosure: I got to see a free advanced screener of APEX: The Story of the Hypercar, courtesy of J.F. Musial, for the purposes of writing a review.)
The concept of a hypercar, like high fashion and fine dining, never really appealed to me for most of my life. Sure, the impossibly expensive and exclusive cars were great as desktop backgrounds and YouTube filler, but a human’s instinct-driven ambition usually favors the branch within reach, rather that the one that requires an insane amount of work.
God, was I ever wrong.
APEX: The Story of the Hypercar is a movie developed by many of the same minds behind the stupid-popular /DRIVE YouTube network of shows, and on the outset, it looks eerily similar to what you’d find online for free. The two mediums share many of the same swooping, color-graded establishing shots that made the YouTube channel shine.
However, the movie—from a technical standpoint—seemingly breaks through the constraints of budget limitations and paints such a clear picture, both physically and metaphorically, that I’d consider it the most exquisitely-shot automotive documentary I’ve ever seen. It’s so damn pretty I found myself pausing and re-watching detail shots of cars that I’d likely never see in real life.
I once asked the film’s director, J.F. Musial, about what he thought the most important aspect of creating a good video was, and without flinching he replied “It’s all about the story.” APEX’s story, like many documentaries, mainly revolves around a single individual role filled by the always humble and reserved Christian Von Koenigsegg as he develops, unveils, and races the company’s 274 mile per hour One:1.
However, unlike other more conventional docs that are content with feeding you a history lesson about the individual, APEX delves into why Koenigsegg is merely a cog in the sea of large and small players that make up the spectrum of people making machines of pure speed, featuring entire sections of the film dedicated to Horatio Pagani and the McLaren/Porsche/Ferrari Nurburgring feud that set the tone for hypercars in 2014, and every scene is absolutely marvelous.
The film’s main focus, as I understood it, was to allow ordinary Camry-driving mortals to comprehend the significance of why million-dollar, thousand-horsepower cars are shaping the automotive zeitgeist and how their appeal—both in their making and the finished products—are a result of the very drives that pushed humanity to conquer the highest mountains and explore the stars.
At the risk of giving away one of the movie’s standout moments, there’s a scene in which Chris Harris is manhandling a gorgeous pre-production McLaren P1 around Yas Marina with an in-car perspective, and for the first time while watching a Harris video, it didn’t look easy.
I’m not some bench racer that would make the case that drifting a car around a corner while presenting is simple, but with practice, I’m sure any loose-footed oaf could git-r-done. What Harris did in APEX, however, was so far off the pace of possible that I’m legitimately surprised that Yas Marina isn’t currently employing people to chisel embedded McLaren parts out of its concrete wall.
His driving was both graceful and desperate, and the editing that stitched the entire sequence together told a story that needed exactly zero words to get the point across. It was a flawless execution of the concept of show, not tell.
Told through a narrator and a half-dozen automotive journalists, engineers and high-profile enthusiasts, APEX is the ultimate love letter to the upper echelon of car culture, a non-technical, easy-to-digest look into the minds of the madmen that create the dream machines that adorn the walls of budding car nuts the world over.
Don’t miss it.
You can watch APEX: The Story of the Hypercar on March 17th at 11:00 PM EST on NBC Sports Network. You can also pre-order on iTunes and Vimeo right now, just in time for its March 29th release, and if you’re in the New York area, there’s a theatrical debut on March 22nd at Sunshine Cinema in Manhattan.