Having never been to Scandinavia, there were many things I did not know about Finland before seeing Bringing Out the Shred. For example, did you know there are major underground gambling rings surrounding a little-known sport called "footbag" which keep police detectives busy on the heels of organized crime? Yeah, no kidding. While the thought of a hacky sack® movie may not appeal at first to most people, BOTS is far beyond what anyone could imagine from the subject.
Combining stunning visuals of a new brand of stark cinematography- or perhaps one underused in recent decades- with a gentle yet gripping style of narrative storytelling, Jere Vainikka's BOTS is a first of its kind, in content and form. Great talents enact on both sides of the lens, but as a viewer it is easy to become ensconced in the magic as the story unfolds. Did I say story? Yes! Better than that of any Van Damme action flick or of the five (and presumed six) Rockys. This one has decent character development and an original plot, enacted by a surprisingly impactive cast.
If honest to goodness film-making is not enough to keep your attention, Vainikka's incredible camera and editing techniques evoke the spectacular nature of this hardly known sport, involving a whirlwind of spinning and flailing legs kicking around a little ball. If you are already familiar or even entrenched in footbag, then you too will be amazed. Not only are the skills cutting edge, innovative and awe-inspiring (yes, majorly sick tricks & combos!), they are presented in such a way that makes all other footbag videos look laughingly amateur, including my own.
While 38 minutes is not feature-length, the quality Vainikka delivers is as good if not better than many features of far more sizable budgets, and he deserves much respect for his feat, as well as all those involved. I can only hope BOTS gets the exposure and sales it deserves, though I am content knowing it will stir the same fervor in those fortunate enough to experience The Shred.
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