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LAFF Review: Big River Man

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It would be almost impossible to imagine someone as improbable as Martin Strel. He is one of the rare man on this earth who is utterly unique. Allow me the indulgence of summarizing him in a few sentences. Martin is an overweight Slovenian man in his mid-fifties. Martin is essentially an alcoholic, typically drinking two bottles of wine a day. And -- here's the kicker -- Martin has swam the entirety of the Mississippi, the Danube and the Yangtze. At the beginning of Big River Man, Martin is preparing to become the first man to swim the Amazon.

It almost sounds beyond belief. The Amazon River -- much of it passing through unexplored rain forests -- is 3,274 miles long. That's longer than the Atlantic Ocean is wide! It's filled with sharks, crocodiles, piranhas, anacondas and the tiny, fearsome candiru -- the fish reputed to be able to swim into a man's penis. How on earth is a fat, drunken Slovenian going to be able to swim it? And yet, sure enough, that's exactly what Martin Strel sets out to do. Where does he train for this most arduous of journeys? Where else? A water park.