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Review: Lords of Dogtown (2005)

Lords of Dogtown (2005) 

Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke

Premise: Based on the true story of skateboarders in 1970s California who changed the sport and elevated it into a huge business.

What Works: The film’s story tracks the lives of four skateboarders and the performances of each one are very strong. The cinematography in the skating scenes is very good; it has kinetic and dangerous qualities that make it original and give it sense of authenticity. The editing style and story construction are consistent with the tone of the film and its characters.

What Doesn’t: In life, the team was larger than these four boys and so a lot of other information is omitted. The collapse of the original team happens a little too fast and the ending of the film tries to tidy up narrative strands in a way that is a little too neat and after-school-special like. 

Bottom Line: Lords of Dogtown is a solid film. It is the second directorial outing for Hardwicke, who shows a lot of promise. The film will be fun for skateboarding and surfing aficionados, but the story makes a lot of assumptions about the audience’s knowledge. It would be helpful to view this with the documentary film Dogtown and the Z-Boys.

Episode:#82 (January 22, 2006)