As the 2010 Winter Olympics approach, Kevin Pearce is considered the only snowboarder who can beat his best-friend-turned-arch-rival Shaun White, the legend of the sport. Practicing his Olympic routine he crashes sustaining a serious brain injury and falls into a coma. As he begins to recover he immediately wants to get back on his snowboard against doctors orders because even a tiny blow to his damaged head will kill him.
I’ve never really understood the insane risks that extreme sports bring or the people who feel the need to face them head on. It seems insane to put all your energy into a sport that can just as easily get you killed. Snowboarders like Shaun White and Kevin Pierce take risks and play the odds and some win and some lose. The Crash Reel explains why their drive is so important and not about risk, in fact snowboarders might actually be the ultimate romantics.
The film follows Kevin Pierce, a snowboarder who wasn’t as lucky as others. In the buildup to the 2010 Olympics he took a hit that damaged his brain forcing him to reassess his life and the people in it as he faces a long road to recovery. However his naive feelings towards the sport that hurt him may well put him in worse condition.
At it’s core, The Crash Reel is about the riders and how they see the sport. Pierce is a facinating study because the film presents two sides of him, not just before and after but the different sides he sees in the sport following the accident. The film repeatedly refers to him as brain damaged but Pierce seems more susceptible to the realities of the world he lives in following the accident. He understands more and connects more with those around him.
However the other side of The Crash Reel is the rivalry that Pierce is consumed by. His constant one upping of Shaun White leads to his accident but the differences between their climbs couldn’t be more different. The one sided nature of this feud/competition makes it seem kind of trivial as White rarely shares his side in favour of making Pierce out to be a hero, friend and martyr.
The film may have its own opinion but it shows a side of the rider people wouldn’t expect. It shows the side of them that ignores the risks due to his love of the sport, his total devotion to the sport that wounded and changed his life is slightly confusing but eventually you come to understand that letting go of something you love is much harder than you might think
You rated this film: 4
George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
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