The Crash Reel (tbc)

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The ViewHamilton Review

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Review byMatthew Turner4/10/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 108 mins

An inspiring and compelling documentary about the risks of extreme sports with a focus on snowboarder Kevin Pearce.

What’s it all about?
We meet Kevin Pearce 159 days before the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics as he’s prepping for his chance to make the team atop a Utah mountain with his group of friends. A fall from a cab double cork (a complicated snowboarding manoeuvre) on a half-pipe left him with brain damage and unable to compete; Lucy Walker then pieces together his life up until this point with verite footage and follows him on his long road to recovery.

The Good
The allure, excitement and camaraderie of snowboarding is clearly shown from footage pre the brain injury, and Kevin’s natural talent for the sport and a desire to be the best is shown with clips of him on a board from a very early age, showing absolutely no fear which ensures the audience get caught up in the exhilaration. The rivalry between Kevin and Shaun White, who were once close friends, is also explored which makes for fascinating viewing.

Walker and many of the interviewees pay tribute to those who have sadly lost their lives by taking part in extreme sports including CR Johnson and Sarah Burke, and he plays out reels of devastating accidents on half-pipes, dirt tracks and snow slopes, before revealing that athlete insurance does not necessarily cover the sport, as practice runs can be just as dangerous as the real thing. These athletes pay for their healthcare out of their own pocket.

The Great
The human cost and the effect Kevin’s accident has on his family is closely followed, as we see Kevin straight after his accident, lying in his hospital bed, and then in rehab with his family by his side every step of the way. It’s extremely moving to watch his determined road to recovery but also shocking to hear that he wants to get back on his board.

Walker begins a debate on the safety of extreme sports and how far it’s ok to go with half-pipe heights before the danger outweighs the benefits. There’s no easy answer but she’s looking for someone to take responsibility. She manages all this, paints a sensitive portrait of a man affected by brain damage, and ramps up tension with some breath taking visuals.

Worth seeing?
The Crash Reel is a beautifully pieced together documentary that takes you through the highs and lows of an extreme sports athlete whilst simultaneously tugging at your heart strings.

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Content updated: 24/04/2019 22:25

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