A new Vancouver-made documentary about an obscure but ambitious Canadian stuntman begins its Vancouver theatrical run today, Dec. 2, at Vancity Theatre.
Aim for the Roses has been described as “Errol Morris and Philip Glass meets Super Dave Osborne” – that is, a film that combines the vision and/or investigative abilities of an incisive documentarian with the musical acumen of a neo-classical composer brought to bear on the subject of a semi-amateur, showboating daredevil/stuntman. We’re not sure about that. What we do know is that, to some, Ken Carter – the film’s subject (and not to be confused with the American basketball coach) – is the Canadian Evel Knievel, and filmmaker John Bolton’s docudrama tells his story, as well as the story of one of his biggest fans.
The idea for the documentary began with Vancouver musician Mark Haney, who developed an obsession with the daredevil and his ill-fated 1976 attempt to jump the St. Lawrence River in a rocket car. Haney ended up writing a concept album based on the number Pi, replete with 32 lines of double bass, using lyrics taken from original news clippings and Ken Carter’s own words. Vancouver director Bolton tells both tales – Haney’s and Carter’s – in tandem in Aim for the Roses.
According to the film’s website, the Globe and Mail described Aim for the Roses as “Part documentary, part re-enactment, part music video” and called the result “a bizarre, wild, amazing ride.” Scenecreek.com called it “genre-defying” and “both fascinating and disturbing.”