Lords Of Dogtown is a compelling true story about the origins of pro skateboarding. Following the ups and downs of the three major stars to emerge from the 'Z-Boys' skate club, this movie documents the struggle that fame and recognition has on their once impeccable friendship. Tony, Stacy and Jay, three teenage boys with very different backgrounds but all sharing a passion for surfing, break into the pro skating world with their revolutionary moves, but only to find that the fame is not as appealing as it looks. The three boys are tested to the limits when they begin to shine at the sport and are flooded with potential sponsors, and faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to sell out their loyalty to Skip, their Team Leader, for fame and money. Not only is their relationship with Skip tested but their allegiance to each other is pushed past its limits; the attraction of fame, fortune and notoriety quickly breaks down their friendship and changes them in many ways.
Jay's story is a saddening journey depicting the effects a broken home can have on a teenage boy striving to support his incapable mother in any way possible and at the expense of his own dreams. Tony's story demonstrates the way a desperation for fame can negate the original passion and fun; transforming it into a constant trial and strife to be nothing but the best, despite who might get hurt in the process. Stacy, depicted as quite a mundane and questionably perfect teenager, takes a more understated and less glamorous journey to the top born out of his hard work and a sustained love of the sport.
The acting is brilliant, Emile Hirsch, Victor Rasuk and John Robinson are believable in their roles and carry the movie exceptionally well. Heath Ledger is also very impressive as Skip, the down trodden owner of the skate shop and Michael Angerano as Sid, pulls off his unfortunate story perfectly. The actors help to bring the story to life; give it energy and excitement with the help of a perfectly chosen soundtrack and beautiful scenery.
The movie is exceptional at displaying the pure, untouched energy of the youths, so much so that you can almost feel the rush the teenagers are feeling. It's a raw and beautiful emotion that is constantly existent throughout. The hard hitting break up of the friendship is excellently depicted, and although laced in tragedy, the ending is something beautiful and incredibly powerful reinforced by Sparklehorse's perfectly heartbreaking cover of Wish You Were Here. Highly recommend, whether a skateboarding fan or not.