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Although there has been much controversy about whether the movie has
really portrayed 'Dogtown' and the z-boys accurately, i feel this is
not even necessary. If you feel unsatisfied with what you have learnt
about the z-boys and Dogtown go and watch Peralta's documentary Dogtown
and Z-boys. Lords of Dogtown has the intention of entertainment and i
personally exetremely enjoyed it. Lords of Dogtown tells the story of
how a group of Venice street kids changed the face of skateboarding
(and, to some degree, youth) culture in the mid- to late 1970s. The
adolescent adopted the Zephyr Shop, a surf store run by Skip Engblom
(Heath Ledger), as their home away from the own dysfunctional homes.
Engblom recruited the best skaters for the Zephyr Team. Including: Tony
Alva (Victor Rasuk), responsible Stacy Peralta (John Robinson) and
troubled bad-boy innovator Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch). With the
introduction of urethane wheels (revolutionary for the boys skating
style as now the wheels gripped, they could "climb walls")and the
timely South Cal drought meaning swimming pools were to be emptied,
giving the boys perfect locations to practice their gravity-defying
maneuvers, Zephyr became the be-all-end-all of the skateboarding scene.
"Lords of Dogtown" follows the rise and inevitable fall of the team,
efficiently conveying the events with a flat accuracy that emphasizes
history over character development. Director Catherine Hardwicke
("Thirteen") does an outstanding job of re-creating the seedy '70s
atmosphere so much so that you could be forgiven for assuming you were
watching archival outtakes from "Z-Boys." Hardwicke really nails that
sense of post-Vietnam, rejection of authority of SoCal.
Hardwicke also understands the thrilling nature of speed for these
kids. She employs a point-of-view camera from a skateboard's wheel to
convey the rush. Hardwicke's most important achievement, however, was
how she portrayed that skating was indeed these boys life. You really
could see how skating for character Jay Adams was an outlet for the
psychological pain he was experiencing. Hardwicke was very devoted to
her character's individual portrayals. She has 3 contrasting
personalities of main characters and shows this also through camera
techniques. Jay being the more kinesthetic, hard, "go-go-go" character
has many hand held shots and the zoom is employed more, creating a
rough, jerky portrayal. Stacey Peralta being the strangely responsible
one with a job has straight on, clean cut shots. Tony Alva, however,
our most competitive Z-boy by far is filmed often from below, giving
him a larger than life presence.
The movie was composed exceptionally and not too 'Hollywood' ( that is
focusing on unrealistic character relations and excruciatingly
social-analytical). It moved just fast enough to stop you from being
potentially bored by the many skating scenes if you did not fit that
demographic. However, even there i felt Hardwicke handled this
amazingly too. I have never thought in my life i would ever watch a
skating movie but i simply adored this one. Character relations were
conveyed so realistically. The boys relationships were almost to real,
you could feel the unspoken tension between them as the Zephyr team
starts to go their separate ways. Hardwicke shows that true,
stereotypical male bonding, that is that their love of skateboarding in
the end is what brings them together.
Featuring a great soundtrack - including much Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie
and the classic Wish You Were Here, i gave this movie a real thumbs up.
Tags for Lords of Dogtown Full Movie
, John Robinson
, Rebecca De Mornay
, William Mapother
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