Bustin’ Down the Door begins on a note of such rote summary that it effectively neuters all that follows. Though nowhere near as pandering or shrill as Don Cheadle’s opening monologue in Paul Haggis’s Crash, Jeremy Gosch’s film implements its own title (and a slight grammatical variation thereof) as a catchphrase not once, but three times in the four or five talk-heavy minutes prior to its own musical montage opening credits, the titular phrase referring to the manner in which surfboarding broke boundaries as it exploded from a niche pastime to international phenomena amid the social upheaval of the ‘70s. To say that this is an all-ruining decision would be exaggeration, but it nevertheless reflects an unpleasant degree of overemphasis, indicative of both the purported need to repeat things to an audience not expected to “get it” as well as a general lack of confidence among the filmmakers themselves. Here, the obvious enthusiasm for surfing held by all (both in front of and behind the camera) nowhere near makes up for the lack of articulation about what makes it so important—as a lifestyle, as art, as religion—even if for only a select few. This is not to say the subjects themselves are unintelligent, nor Edward Norton’s narration incapable. Gosch has crafted his film in an effort to lure the audience in with flashy, Behind the Music-style flair and baited attempts at drama, the editing practically hyperactive in its quick-fire cycle of stock footage and talking heads. Ultimately, everyone’s on screen for but a few seconds at a time, and the result is that nobody gets to say or reveal anything of substance: By the time we get to the lingering shot on someone that stumbled onto some quiet tears during their interview, the effect is that of a cheap device. Even Norton’s script is so chock-full of soundbites that the actor’s verbal flair is rendered moot. Which is all too bad, really, given that the general nature of the subject matter—a lifestyle that, thought of in eternal perspectives, sounds much like heaven—makes it one worth infinitely more probing, the stock footage alone entrancing in ways that can’t be verbally expressed. That Gosch doesn’t allow more beauteous shots taken from inside the tube of a cresting wave to carry on for moments on end speaks to greater missed opportunities. Ultimately, you’ll learn more about the pathos of hanging ten from Surf’s Up.
- Jeremy Gosch
- Jeremy Gosch, Monika Gosch, Phil Jarratt, Robert Traill
- Wayne Bartholomew, Ian Cairns, Tom Curren, Edward Norton, Mark Richards, Kelly Slater, Shaun Tomson, Peter Townend
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