Lords Of Dogtown


Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Written by:Stacy Peralta
Starring: Jon Robinson, Emile Hirsch, Rebecca De Mornay, Victor Rasuk, Michael Angarano, Heath Ledger
Released: August 25, 2005
Grade: C+

Based on a true story, Lords Of Dogtown is about three teenagers who in the late 1970s, helped make skateboarding famous.  There was a similarly themed documentary made several years ago called Dogtown And The Z-Boys which I haven’t seen but it’s on my list of films to catch up on.  I was never really interested in this film and writer Stacy Peralta hasn’t done anything to change this.

Don’t think I’m not being objective though.  Even if you are interested in skateboarding, the film is  a confusing mess that doesn’t know what it wants to be.  It starts off with skateboarding, skateboarding and more skateboarding.  The kids all seem to have a different background and some strange parents but this wasn’t explored too much.  The film changes then when a drugged-up manager (played by Heath Ledger) starts entering them in tournaments.

The concluding parts of the film are rushed and don’t offer much.  As the three get older, they slowly drift apart.  Tony (Rasuk) finds stardom and develops an big ego.  Jay (Hirsch) starts hanging out with gangs, does drugs and shaves his head.  Stacy (Robinson) stays pretty much the same.  They are all reunited in a scene at the end with the help of another young skater named Sid (Angarano).  I guess this is supposed to be the feel good ending but felt indifferent.  So little time was spent developing the rift between the three leading characters, it seemed strange to have such a big, significant reconciliation.

The film is directed by Catherine Hardwicke who made a film last year I enjoyed a lot – Thirteen starring Evan Rachel Wood.  Lords Of Dogtown has a similar look with quick editing and many scenes shot with a moving hand-held camera.  It’s overdone here to the point where it’s hard to see what’s going on.  This detracts from the skateboarding itself (the essence of the film) and only highlights the fact they’ve used stunt doubles throughout.

Those who enjoy the sport will find plenty to like about the film.  Unlike any other sporting films though, this fails to connect with those who do not.