If you only go to see one documentary this year this should be the one. It’s not just the sweeping cinematic grace that Eddie Martin has instilled in the look of the film but also the narrative arc of the story which is akin to a Shakespeare play.
In the 90s the Pappas brothers were teenage pro skate boarders. They were capable of feats on a board that no one else could touch; they beat the likes of Tony Hawk (yeah you’ve heard of him) and they reached the very top. With success came the partying and they partied hard, too hard. The immense highs turned into massive lows; the fall from fame included drug addiction, prison and ultimately murder.
The is the 3rd film that producer James Gay-Rees and editor Chris King have worked together on and has the magic touch they gave “Senna” and “Exit Through the Gift Shop”. The amazing archive footage which spans most of the brothers’ lives is masterfully edited by Chris King. The recent interviews with friends and colleagues are enlightening and honest but it is Tas Pappas himself that gives the film its real heart. His charm and character shine through and at times he acts like a “natural asshole”, albeit a funny one. But as he recounts his life to us, when things start to go wrong it is heart breaking, the tragedy writ large on Tas’s face.
This film is beautifully shot and has an energy which leaves you breathless. You don’t need to know or indeed care about skateboarding to get something out of this film; this is a human story on an epic scale which will get under your skin.
Read my feature on Tas Pappas and “All This Mayhem” here.