Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars "Exceptionally humane, existentialistic and gravitating...", 29 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Crash Reel [DVD] (DVD)
English screenwriter, producer and director Lucy Walker`s fifth documentary feature which she co-wrote with Brazilian screenwriter and film editor Pedro Cos and co-produced, is inspired by the director`s first encounter in 2010 with a dedicated 21st century Winter X Games medallist who wished that he could inspire other action sports athletes to use their stage for social change. It premiered in the U.S. Documentary Premieres section at the 29th Sundance Film Festival in 2013, was screened in the Berlinale Special section at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival in 2013, was shot on location in America and is an American production which was produced by producer Julian Cautherly. It tells the story about a professional American snowboarder in his mid-twenties named Kevin Pearce from the town of Hanover in the state of New Hampshire in the United States whom during a winter in the late 2000s whilst living with his father named Simon, his mother named Pia and his brothers named Andrew, Adam and David and being in hard training for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada suffered a life-altering head injury after a close to deadly fall in a half-pipe in Park City, Utah in America.

Distinctly and subtly directed by English filmmaker Lucy Walker, this finely paced documentary which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the main character`s point of view, draws an intimate, considerate and gripping portrayal of an uncommonly talented athlete`s relationship with his family, his competitive and friendly relationship with an equally profound snowboarder, skateboarder and Winter Olympics Gold medallist named Shaun White who was born with a heart defect and told that he wouldn`t be good in sports, and his heart-wrenching awakening to life at a hospital as a different person than he was and having to learn almost everything again. While notable for its variegated milieu depictions, fine cinematography by cinematographer Nick Higgins and multi-dimensional scenes of snowboarding, this narrative-driven story about variegated kinds of love, disenchanting and courageous compromises, human boundaries and a physically and mentally demanding and gracious American invention and art form which became prominent in the late 20th century and which can bring both fortunate and fatal consequences, depicts a real-life study of character with cinematic dimensions and contains informative, authentic and at times shocking interviews with snowboarders, family members, friends, other extreme sports athletes and witnesses.

This somewhat historic and at times breath-taking appreciation of life and documentation of real events in the life of a son, brother and friend who during the peak of his career became the number one challenger for one of the world`s greatest and most renowned snowboarders, which is set mostly in America in the 21st century, where shame is virtuously turned into acceptance, where brightness turns into darkness in a matter of seconds, a person comes back to the light, a 29-year-old Canadian freestyle skier named Sarah Burke goes training at the same large half-pipe as Kevin Pearce and a straightforward man named David Pearce who regards himself as an up-person makes his brother know the difference between confidence and reason, is impelled and reinforced by its fragmented narrative structure, substantial character development, efficient continuity, pivotal film editing, interrelated stories, multifaceted use of archival and other types of footage, home video recordings, versatile perspectives, timely use of music, perceptible underlying spiritual grace and the hardly noticeable presence of the instructor who spent two and a half years with the main subject and his supportive family. An exceptionally humane, existentialistic and gravitating documentary feature which gained numerous awards at various film festivals.
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