Documentary set in the world of big mountain skiing, this is a real life coming of age saga about the tribe of skiers who challenge the biggest, most dangerous mountains in the world. Three...
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Documentary set in the world of big mountain skiing, this is a real life coming of age saga about the tribe of skiers who challenge the biggest, most dangerous mountains in the world. Three generations of skiers mentor Kye Peterson as he attempts to finish the final run of his father, Trevor, who died in 1996 skiing in Chamonix, France. Based on the book written by William A. Kerig and shot on location in Chamonix, a thrilling film. Written by
I finally got around to watching this DVD, after reading the book years ago.
The good: Amazing scenery, one of American film's best "insider" views of what it's really like to ski in Chamonix, interesting characters including some true legends of the sport, great storyline about an up-and-coming young kid being welcomed into the big mountain "tribe" and skiing the run that his dad died on.
The bad: With all due respect to all the work he put into the film and his talent as a storyteller, Kerig should have left himself out of the film. The setup about his neighborhood doesn't work nearly as well as it did in the book, his narration is very stilted and wooden (as if he is reading all of his lines), and both the B-roll shots of him walking around and fourth-wall breaks of him talking to the camera are distracting and don't add much to the narrative. His presence worked in the book b/c we got a subplot about him working so hard to pitch the film and get it off the ground, then convince Kye's mom to let him go, etc., but in the film I wanted to hit fast forward every time he appeared on the screen and get back to the story of the skiers.
The ugly: (SPOILER PART) Using Fan-Fan's accident and injury as a suspense setup, basically to keep the audience wondering if Kye was going to be alright, was cheap and gimmicky. It would have had so much more impact to just tell the story chronologically, and show that accidents in the mountains so often happen once you put your guard down, i.e. the day after the most dangerous run of the trip. Instead, it is employed as a framing device to manipulate the audience.
Overall, a very enjoyable and inspiring film. Watch it for the skiing, the scenery, the camaraderie, and its knack for capturing the spirit of the sport. Just look beyond that fact that it had to also be a "movie."
P.S. Steep, the larger-scale documentary that sprang from this project, is also immensely entertaining and provides a nice companion piece to Edge of Never, particularly given the chilling appearance by Doug Coombs in the latter, right before the protagonists' epic run down the Glacier.
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