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  • Crash Reel, The | Review

    By | December 9, 2013

    The Crash Reel Poster[1]

    Director: Lucy Walker

    Writer(s): Pedro Kos, Lucy Walker

    Kevin Pearce had one thing on his mind—winning the gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Park City, Utah. Pearce was quickly becoming legend among snowboarders and giving fellow snowboarding star, Shaun White, a run for his money. While training in Park City, Pearce’s dreams of gold took a tragic turn when a half-pipe run left Pearce with a serious brain injury. After months of rehabilitation, Pearce returned home to Vermont to a supportive family that was hopeful Kevin would abandon his dreams of returning to snowboarding. To his family’s chagrin, Pearce immediately began planning his comeback, but with the reality of his injury sinking in, Pearce would eventually begin to question his return.

    The Crash Reel is an engaging look at the surprisingly dangerous sport of snowboarding, its stars and their zeal to continually push the boundaries to climb to the top step of the Olympic podium. As we watch Pearce fight back from his injuries, The Crash Reel reminds us that Kevin Pearce was relatively lucky, with the film touching on the death of freestyle skier Sarah Burke, who died from injuries sustained on the same half-pipe run in Park City that proved disastrous for Pearce. In addition, Kevin’s friends share many of their worst wipeouts, footage that makes one wonder what keeps these guys going back for more.

    The answer lies in Pearce himself. Even after such a tragic accident, Kevin still dreams of snowboarding, refusing to heed his doctor’s advice that one fall could end his life. Perhaps Pearce’s insistence stems from his swift rise as a force in the world of snowboarding, surpassing his rivals, virtually unchallenged (with White being the possible exception) leading up to the games in Park City, Utah. This realization would be enough to drive almost anyone with Pearce’s talent onward, regardless of the possibility of a fatal outcome. With his chance of participating in the 2010 games shattered, Pearce believes he can come back and his persistence becomes painful to watch at times as it becomes apparent he is not capable of being the athlete he once was.

    Director Lucy Walker gives us an intimate look into the hopes and fears of Kevin Pearce as he struggles with a life-altering brain injury, as well as providing those not in-the-know a window into the world of a sport that is still in its relative infancy. One of the more heartfelt aspects of The Crash Reel is the relationship between Pearce, his family, friends, and colleagues, all of whom maintain a loving bond with the athlete while attempting to steer him away from competitive snowboarding. What we ultimately learn is that even the most traumatic experience can have a silver lining and that while leaving the past behind can be difficult, focusing on an alternate future can affect a positive change not only for individuals like Kevin Pearce, but also influence others that face similar challenges.   

    Rating: 8/10



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