All This Mayhem
Cert: 15 / 104 mins / Dir. Eddie Martin
Eddie Martin's intimate documentary about the rise and fall of the world-champion skateboarders, Ben and Tas Pappas, does little to brighten the day of the audience, but my word it engages them. Featuring the talking-heads of Tas and close friends and colleagues from throughout the brothers' careers, the bulk of the film is constructed from archive footage (something which, in skate culture, there is an abundance of) both on and off the ramps.
The first half of the film concentrates on the boys' skating, depicting it as more of a need than a passion, laying the groundwork for their seemingly inexorable fall (which is glimpsed in the trailer, but that's by no means the worst of it). And just as gravity pulls a skater back onto the ramp, when they fall, they fall hard. What shocked me most was that I was previously unaware of these (relatively recent) events. This can be partially explained by me not being part of the skating scene in any way, but even then I'd imagine that if an athlete in any other globally popular and televised sport had gone through the story we see unfolding here, it'd be mainstream-news-worthy.
The most interesting aspect (for me) is that while many of the commentators have been filmed speaking 'in one session', Tas has been recorded on three separate occasions (and judging by his hair in each, with some considerable gap between). What this means is that the crew filming Tas at the start (and indeed Tas himself), wouldn't have known how things would turn out by the final frames. It gives the film a very organic feel; documentary in its truest sense.
There aren't many chuckles in the tale of two lost souls who happen to be the best at what they do, but watching Tony Hawk get his arse handed to him by a guy who's broken one of his ribs but carried on regardless is both inspiring and grin-inducing.
It's rare that a title perfectly encapsulates its film, but All This Mayhem comes as close as dammit.
Probably best to watch at home with the amount of camcordered archive footage they've got going on.
I won't avoid it, but probably won't seek it out.
Seriously though, was this all reported on the mainstream news outside of Australia, and I just missed it?
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