Thursday, April 11, 2013

Patrick Barry's Skateboarding Indie, VEER, Plays Like a Eulogy to Adolescence

At its core, VEER sets its sights on two characters at a crossroad in life and never flinches from the reality both men must inevitably face: Prolonged childhood or responsibility?

Jesse and Strazz, skaters and former teammates, are worlds apart at the film's open. While Strazz enjoys all the creature comforts afforded by turning his adolescent pastime into an enterprise, Jesse couch-surfs, avoiding the rapidly descending burden of adulthood, eventually landing him--like so many millennials--back in his childhood home. There, Jesse is surrounded by visual reminders of his past glories which serve as a constant reminder that he hasn't grown up.

Jesse's story straddles the line between documentary and cinema vérité, shifting between carefully staged coverage and run-and-gun, guerilla camerawork with characters occasionally breaking the fourth wall to interact with the camera (shot on 16mm film). The world in which Jesse inhabits feels "lived-in," a compliment to the filmmakers. 

Strazz' rather vapid existence (shot with HD digital cameras), is a world away from his former teammate. Perhaps sensing that all his success is missing something grounded, Strazz routinely suggests including Jesse in various business ventures whether it be a new line of personalized decks or his character likeness in a video game. Strazz' efforts are overruled by his manager, quipping, "We're not running a charity here."

Occasionally, Strazz enters Jesse's world and vice versa. Despite frequent interruptions from pressing business calls and pictures with fans, Strazz has moments where his existence in Jesse's grainy, black and white universe feels organic if largely nostalgic. However Jesse is worse for wear in the polished world of high definition.

The antagonist in the film is life. It's no spoiler to say that life will always win but it's fun to watch our working class heroes fight the good fight.

- Martin Quartermass for

No comments: