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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 12.07.09] Canada review action comedy

Year: 2009
Directors: Corey Adams and Alex Craig
Writers: Corey Adams and Alex Craig
IMDB: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 8 out of 10

It was only a matter of time before someone came along to tell a fairy tale about skateboarding and we’re not talking Disney happily-ever-after fairy tale, but more of a Brother’s Grimm take on things. Enter Machotaildrop a unique tale from writer directors Corey Adams and Alex Craig.

Somewhere between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Lords of Dogtown it’s the story of the biggest skateboard company on the planet and the young man who took it down from the inside. Walter Rhum is a talented kid with aspirations to be the next face of Machotaildrop, the biggest and coolest skateboard company on the planet run by a man who calls himself The Baron. After sending them a VHS tape of his talents, he receives a letter asking him to report to the Machotaildrop headquarters and it’s here that the wackiness begins and we leave reality behind for a trip so wonderfully odd it feels like it came form another time altogether.

Upon his arrival, Walter is escorted through a maze of tunnels on a train which eventually takes him to the mansion where he meet The Baron, signs away his life to the company. He’s assigned a “look,” a room and begins his training alongside his hero Blair Stanley but a chance encounter with a young woman in the library changes the trajectory of Walter’s career.

Though it relies heavily on the performance of relative new comer Anthony Amedori, the young actor does an excellent job of bringing Walter, the quiet yet sure of himself teen to life and when the script asks that the character take on the role of hero, Walter comes across as the capable man for the job while James Faulkner brings the perfect balance of likeability and despicability to The Baron.

The film’s performances are excellent the real stand outs here are look and style of the film. Production designer Jeffro Halliday creates a universe which is both realistic and completely foreign. From locales to costuming, there’s something other worldly and timeless to Halliday’s retro designs which also have a very “do it yourself” feel. This awesomeness is captured by Craig Trudeau (on a roll this year with three films including the excellent A Gun to the Head), James Liston and Peter Hagge.

Adams and Craig’s story is more than just an adventure tale because buried in the fibres of this script is a clear anti-corporate message. Walter may see Machotaildrop as the be-all end all of skateboarding but once there, he comes to realize that it’s simply a big corporation that values the bottom line more than the heroes it creates and then tears down in service of the mighty dollar. It’s a cautionary tale with a happy ending though not one where Walter comes out on top.

Machotaildrop is a feature of unique vision from a talented group of filmmakers and though comparisons to Jared Hess’ work may come easily, Adams and Craig’s story feels much more important, well executed and long lasting than any of Hess’ previous work.

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