Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything

In 1985, an estimated 18.5 million viewers stayed up to watch the conclusion of the World Championship final between two legends of the snooker world, Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis. A live sporting event had never achieved such figures after midnight, which gives you an indication of how big the sport was in the UK.

Its popularity has admittedly waned since, but it was an event such at this that spurred a ten-year-old youngster to pick up a cue and place his fingers on the green baize – his name, Ronnie O’Sullivan.

This is a superb documentary on whom many consider to be the GOAT of the sport.

boom reviews Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything

Not only does it look at his childhood, but it also focuses his run at that very tournament, the World Championships in the iconic Sheffield Crucible theatre, as he attempts to equal Stephen Hendry’s impressive seven-times winning record.

Director Sam Blair manages an impressive break of his own with some incredible access to Sullivan, who is truly open with him about his life and success. He also gets some surprising contributions from unlikely sources, mainly British artist Damien Hirst and rock legend Ronnie Wood, both of whom are massive snooker fans and close friends with the snooker star.

boom reviews Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything
This would be so much easier with a third stick...

The documentary strikes a pleasing balance, as it delves into his personal life, revealing a strong bond with his enigmatic father, that becomes a source of stress for the player due to an incident his father gets involved in. It’s something so significant, that you get the impression it’s a considerable weight mentally for O’Sullivan to carry, that has certainly attributed to his struggle with his mental health and addictions, which he opens up about in this film.

You then have that set against the 46-year-old’s run in a major tournament, and although he’s no stranger to playing in them, you get a fascinating insight into the pressure it can take out on you being involved at such an elite level of the sport.

Some of the footage is a little curious, such as there’s no reason given why Blair interviews O’Sullivan in bed, fully dressed, for an on-going period of the film, as you would imagine that a chair would be fairly easy to access, but still.

He also cuts a solitary figure, often seen leaving messages for people on their phones. And although he’s very honest expressing his feelings, there’s only one scene that features himself and his partner onscreen at the same time, and no mention whatsoever of his three children. It is revealed that he is a big fan of scones though, so that’s something.

And although there’s quite a sweet scene of him having breakfast with fellow legend Jimmy White, contributions from other snooker players are somewhat lacking, which is surprising considering how well respected he is within the game.

You do get a sense of how vulnerable he is throughout, especially with its surprisingly emotional finale, that just shows not just how much the sport really does mean to him, but what it also takes out of him.

This superior sports biography is a fascinating look at a real character and talent of the sport, that will appeal to both non fans and fans of the snooker, that does a remarkable and entertaining job of putting his remarkable life in the frame.

we give this four out of five