VOD film review: Mosley: It’s Complicated
Daniel Broadley | On 20, Jul 2021
Director: Michael Shevloff
Cast: Max Mosley, Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore
Where to watch Mosley: It’s Complicated online in the UK: Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play / Sky Store
Most people will know Max Mosley either as the son of the leader of the British Facist Party, Oswald Mosley, or as the subject of a News of the World story which alleged to have caught him in the act at a sex party – something that he took the paper to court over for invasion of privacy. Both of these feature in Michael Shevloff’s documentary, but the majority of it focuses on his scandal-ridden time at Formula 1.
Mosley may be a complicated individual (the very title of this film suggests so), but this documentary lacks the type of balanced analysis you expect when dealing with such colourful, high profile figures. It feels more like a biography which had Mosley’s personal sign off, with much of it made up of interviews featuring answers to questions that Mosley could have written himself.
That’s not to say the film isn’t interesting, far from it. For those who don’t know much about F1, the documentary does well to connect the dots between the motorsport’s history and Mosley’s leadership of it up to his resignation. And, in fairness, Mosley does talk a lot about his relationship with his father and trying to move out of his shadow, and speaks frankly about his experiences with the British tabloid press. However, for a documentary about a man whose father was married in the presence of Adolf Hitler and who declared personal war on Rupert Murdoch, the focus on Mosley’s work to improve road safety feels like it’s trying quite hard to paint him in a positive light.
Perhaps the most intriguing question raised by this film is how Max Mosley would have fared in politics were it not for the unfortunate family name, not to mention his questionable political beliefs as a young man (something he says he grew out of, but he is hardly challenged on). When he speaks at motor conferences about road safety, there is something of a natural public speaker about him; and his ruthlessness in his battles with the press and infighting at the top of F1 does make one wonder if he’d had what it takes to make it big in politics. Ultimately though, he was forever living in his father’s long shadow.
Similarly, this documentary feels like it’s living in the shadow of Max. It’s interesting, and Mosley’s work on road safety and his fight against the gutter press is commendable, but there is a sense that there’s a lot left unsaid and unquestioned, and that we’re only told and shown what Max would have been happy with. Having passed away earlier this year, this film feels more like a tribute or obituary than a documentary.