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You might remember Mark Roberts from famous streaks including the Fred Talbot Weather Island Streak, the Champions League Streak and the work that was arguably his Sistine Chapel, the 2004 Superbowl Streak. But John Farrar’s ‘First Cut’ debut film finds the 49-year-old Scouser in reflective mood. The bailiffs are at his door, his kids are embarrassed and it’s time to stop. But does he have one more big job in him?
This could be a quirkily fascinating film. There’s something adrift and even mildly tragic about Roberts: some itch that, even stark-bollock naked, he can’t quite scratch. But while Farrar’s style is heavily indebted to the likes of Louis Theroux and Jon Ronson, he can’t quite manage the levels of unconscious revelation they sometimes conjure. So too often, he’s left with hyperbole. Is doing a final streak really ‘the biggest decision of Mark’s life’? Is it really fair to say that Mark ‘seems to have lost his bottle’ when it looks more like he’s just grown up? There’s a lesson for documentary-makers here: sometimes, you just have to let the story tell itself.