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planetFear - Rock Climbing, Adventure Racing, Mountain Biking

Set In Stone DVD

Review by planetFear
Sunday 26th November 2006

I first viewed Set in Stone at its World premiere in a Sheffield cinema and watching it on a big screen I was certainly impressed with both the climbing and the filmwork. The film certainly did not feel out of place in such a grand setting.

After viewing it again at home, on the oh so much smaller TV screen, I can confirm that the film is certainly an excellent bit of work from the multi-talented and multi-award winning pair of David Halsted and Alastair Lee.

They have once again dug deep and have produced a film that constantly leaves you amazed at their cinematography and innovative filming techniques. Their previous films have always used animations to break up / enhance the story and here again they have used their talents to good effect, creating a number of shorts that tells the history and background behind Dave Birkett.

Innovative techniques and film work may keep your brain wondering 'how did they do that' but a climbing film is nothing without a story or character and in Dave Birkett, they have a man that is at the top of his game and the routes he does shine through as a testament to his climbing ability and his heritage growing up in the beautiful Lakes District.

All the lines are truly stunning and the story behind the climbing life of Dave Birkett is an insight into a man who has forged some of the hardest routes in the country, in a location that does not lend itself to projects. The Lakes crags are not 20min walk-ins or blessed by stable weather systems. The routes have all come about because of Dave's love of the mountains and this comes trough in spade fulls as he talks about the crags, his lines and his time spent in the hills.

One of the most impressive things about his routes is just how far off the 'climbing scene' they are. His are not born of competition or 'last great lines' but simply from the wish to push himself and climb in these stunning locations.

Of the man himself, Dave Birkett comes across as a deadpan, straight talking, hard as nails, solid, down to earth climber - a climbers climber is used at the start of the film to describe him and its very apt.

After watching the credits finish, a non-climbing friend turned to me in the cinema and went ‘WOW’! and I had to agree. Overall, it’s another excellent film from Posing Productions that highlights a world-class climber who is little known outside the Lakes. I always rate climbing films on the question ‘Do I want to go climbing there?’ The answer is most certainly YES! ... though I won’t be going near any of Mr Birkett’s routes.

One of the films strongest points (the innovative filmwork) is also its only critique. Using so many new filming techniques unfortunately distracts away from the climbing. In a film about general climbing in the lakes, all of them would be perfect but with a character who is so far ahead of many of his peers and with so many climbing achievements, they are not relly needed to enhance the film.

Overall, a stunning film for any traditional climber or simply anyone who enjoys climbing. The filmwork is at times groundbreaking and the main character Dave Birkett is a true climbing machine, that's love of the sport and the mountains has led him to be one of the leading top-end climbers of this generation. The number of his own E8's & E9's are truly mind boggling.

Set in Stone catches a climber in his element and at his peak, climbing some of the boldest and impressive routes in the UK. A film that certainly catches a 'moment' in UK climbing history.

Total Running Time: 50mins

Extras: Interviews and the key routes climbed

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