The Crash Reel


Biography / Documentary / Sport

IMDb Rating 8.2 10 4789

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 03, 2021 at 03:16 AM



Shaun White as Self
999.62 MB
English 2.0
29.97 fps
1 hr 48 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 8 / 10

Compelling tense revealing personal journey

Shaun White and Kevin Pearce have been friendly rivals since childhood. They have known each other since 9 or 10. Shaun has always won everything. However in the years leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Kevin has started to win some. It's a struggle to put in more dangerous high flying tricks. Then 49 days to the Olympics, Kevin suffers a harrowing injury practicing a tough trick. He barely survives while Shaun goes on to win the gold. As he gets better, he wants to snowboard once again despite the fears from everybody.

This is an eye opening documentary. First there is a pretty interesting remembrance of the rivalry between Shaun and Kevin. There is his family life and a simple retelling of his life leading up to the injury. After the injury, it seems to be a straight forward traditional inspirational feel good movie. Then it becomes a suspense as Kevin keeps trying to relive his past despite everybody fighting him. The tension is really high as we fear for another brain injury. This is a very compelling tense revealing personal journey.

Reviewed by Red-Barracuda 8 / 10

A very interesting look at the dangers of snowboarding

I'm a skier and have hitherto always found a certain type of snowboarder a little annoying. I'm not stating this to be confrontational or anything but simply to illustrate how successful The Crash Reel is. Not only is it very well made and emotionally strong but it has instilled in me a new found respect for snowboarding. It tells the story of Kevin Pearce, a snowboarder who was a favourite to make the American Winter Olympic team for Vancouver 2009. He was the main rival for Shaun White – the greatest boarder there has been – and he was slowly picking up trophies and his career was about to go into hyper-drive. It was at this point that he suffered an accident on a half-pipe that left him brain damaged. It's a story that has been told in different parts – firstly as a sports documentary about the rise of a new star, then about a man trying to recover from a brain injury and lastly about acceptance and wisdom gained through experience. In adopting this approach it covers a lot of ground and leaves you with a lot of different things to ponder over, such as the dangers of snowboarding and the importance of the family unit.

In some respects the scariest thing about The Crash Reel was how easily and innocuously the fateful accident happened. It wasn't a spectacular crash but one you could easily envisage happening to any boarder capable of tackling the big half-pipes. It makes you ponder the very real dangers involved in the sport and how quickly everything can change. The tragedy of Pearce is that he instantly became a young man unable to do the one thing he excelled at. But as the film later illustrates he was lucky, as we learn of different boarders and skiers who are actually killed. The film functions partly as a warning about the dangers of extreme sports both physically and psychologically. But it also celebrates the sport too with lots of incredible snowboarding footage. But it's the family scenes that often leave the biggest impression. The Pearce's are clearly a strong and loving family and their many scenes with Kevin, trying to reason with him about not getting back on a board again are heart-felt. It's in these moments that the other star of the documentary emerges, namely Kevin's brother David who suffers from Downs Syndrome. David was often the voice of reason and was an extremely fascinating character. It made me think that we simply never hear the voices of people who suffer David's condition. And judging by The Crash Reel it is a voice well worth hearing.

All-in-all, this is an excellent documentary that scores points in several areas. It made me go away and think about things and that's really what it's all about at the end of the day.

Reviewed by gbill-74877 9 / 10

Fantastic documentary - and you don't need to love snowboarding to love it

This is a documentary that will stick with you. It chronicles the story of Kevin Pearce, who was one of the best snowboarders in the world prior to suffering a career-ending brain injury during a practice run 49 days before the 2010 Olympics. While that may seem like a story fairly narrow in scope, this is a layered film, and you certainly don't need to be a huge snowboarding fan to love it. It's human drama, asks some fundamental questions, and is brilliantly told by director Lucy Walker.

To start with, there is the accident itself, which was not only caught on film, but which had filmmakers there beforehand, as Pearce and his buddies in the 'Frends' crew (so named because there is no I in friends) were gearing up for the Olympics. The way Walker presents it is masterful: after the guys play rock-paper-scissors to determine the run order, Pearce drops in, everything seems routine, and then he falls so unexpectedly. There is no build-up, it's just as it happened, and just as things happen in life. She was there to film the immediate aftermath with friends and family, and then stuck with the story for 4 years, on Pearce's long road to recovery, which was filled with physical, mental, and spiritual challenges.

Along the way, Walker rewinds through Pearce's childhood and his ascent to becoming a serious challenger to Shaun White (if not already better than him) in the years between the 2006 Olympics and 2009, having beaten him in several competitions. That caused White to kick Pearce out of his apartment, effectively ending their friendship (these two Friends, despite going back to when they were young, certainly had an 'I' in their relationship, that belonging to White). White is interviewed for the film, and far from demonizing him or exercising a heavy hand, Walker simply lets the facts and people speak for themselves. White is a genius snowboarder but also a selfish loner, obsessed with winning, which runs counter to the sport's culture; while Pearce is just as competitive, he's beloved for his attitude and generosity.

But this is really the story of what happens in recovery. Pearce first struggles just to survive and then to regain control of basic body functions, but all along he still has the dream of returning to snowboarding. However, he has TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), which creates a whole host of complications: memory loss, mood swings, impulse control issues, diminished ability to decide things for himself, and substantially higher risk for serious injury if he hits his head again. The sport is full of people who have gone back to it after one TBI only to get another, and become incapacitated or die. In a moving and disturbing scene, Pearce meets one such guy, who, while still mobile, is pretty far gone, and abusive to his own mother.

Pearce's family is, quite frankly, amazing. It's so close-knit and a model of unity and love, with both parents supporting their son but calmly expressing their concerns. His brothers simply do the same. The documentary really fleshes all of them out, showing footage from them growing up, the brothers competing (including David, who has Down's syndrome, in handicapped competitions), and the dad's glass-making business. As Pearce stubbornly persists in his desire to snowboard when it almost seems laughable to the rest of us who are not the best in the world at something (and who may forget it would be like telling Mozart he could no longer make music), the fundamental question starts to emerge: when does your decision to pursue your passion, the thing that drives you, become selfish because of the grave risks, and what you've put your loved ones through? To see these conversations with doctors, therapists, friends, and at the family dinner table, and to see them evolve over the years, is outstanding filmmaking.

A question specific to the sport, of course, is safety. With wall height increasing in 'super pipes' and the explosion of stunts, athletes literally need to practice new tricks on runs with foam or mattress landings because of the risk. As Pearce's father says, and so rationally even after everything that's happened, the athlete will always push himself, and in other sports such as auto racing, eventually there were rules for things like engine size for safety.

We see Sarah Burke, a pioneer who pushed getting super pipe skiing added to the Olympics in 2014, interviewed with her boyfriend Rory Bushfield, talking about Pearce but also her passion for the sport despite all the injuries she's sustained over the years, then we see her get married to Bushfield, and then we hear she died tragically at the exact same spot Pearce had his accident. It's ominous and moving to hear her say "It's what our lives are, is being on the hill. And there's a reason for that — it's amazing. It's where we met, it's where we play, we live...", and then Bushfield gently adding "and hopefully where we'll die." There is a cringe-inducing crash reel of sorts shown for other falls towards the end, for both snowboarding and motorcycle stunt riding, but Walker uses restraint and does not sensationalize. As Pearce eventually comes to a place of acceptance, one can't help but be touched by his story and by his family and friends who stuck with him, and yet also feel concerned for the sport, despite the majesty and beauty of athletes skillfully twirling through the air at what seem like impossible heights. The soundtrack is excellent and adds to the emotional impact the film makes. I didn't know Pearce's story or really understand what this documentary was going to be about, and ended up riveted.

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