Sunday, 17 August 2014

All This Mayhem - review

In this modern age of having every single detail of an upcoming film spoiled and analysed on the internet before its release, it is a great feeling when you watch a film you know very little about beyond the trailer and emerge at the end genuinely surprised and thrilled by the end result.

This is how I felt watching All This Mayhem.

I went into it expecting a talking heads documentary about the skating rivalry between the Pappas brothers and Tony Hawk but what I got was something much deeper, darker and more disturbing than I had imagined.

I didn't recognise the names Ben and Tas Pappas from my skating experience (which amounted to playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater on the PS2) and to film goes onto to show exactly why that would be the case.

The Pappas brothers took the Vert skating scene by storm, first in Australia and then the US, beginning a long rivalry with Tony Hawk, continually trading places in the Top 3 in competitions with Tas becoming World Champion in 1996.

The Pappas boys embraced the rock n roll lifestyle that went along with that world and their loud, brash style both on and off the track and like the fabled 900 trick, it resulted in both of them crashing and burning on a public stage.

There are hints and signs early on as to where the story is headed but it takes more twists and turns that one of Tony Hawk's links.

Tas makes for a refreshingly candid, entertaining and honest interviewee as he looks back over that turbulent time.

Not only is it interesting to see how the skating scene and tricks have evolved over the years but also, rather amusingly, the increase in quality of the recording equipment to capture these events.

You do not need any prior knowledge of the skateboarding world in order to enjoy this film which makes it accessible and worth a watch by everyone because at no point are you ever board and it never skates around the darker aspects, instead ramping up the tension to deliver a terrific documentary amid All This Mayhem.

4 stars

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