All This Mayhem (15)
Directed by: Eddie Martin
Starring: Tas Pappas, Ben Pappas & Tommy Caudill
Running time: 104 min
A skater film the blurb reads. Fox-trot-alpha-Charlie! Through blinking eyes I walk with trepidation to the theatre expecting hardcore thrash, lots of ‘dudes’, ‘twisted’, ‘gnarly’, ‘yeah, man’ etc etc. Mind drilled with such presumptions and expecting not to take the top of my black Bic. Five minutes in, I’m engrossed. Yes, there a lot of skateboard tricks all through the movie ad nausea; once of the same thing is good, twice is great, but when you do the same thing multiply, it gets boring.
And here enters the true essence of this flick. It’s the charge of the Light Brigade, the freedom of being a lower-class kid with no prospects racing everything away, the five percent of south-paws being able to open a tin of beans with conventional tin-opener. This is rookie versus veteran, heart-beat versus metronome, Romulus versus Remus, and most importantly indivduality against corporation.
Directed by Eddie Martin, a friend of the Pappas brothers – they should have had the wit to be Pappas Bros Inc – has found through the freedom of self expression on a camera chasing four wheels of two feuding but loving brothers battling against the futility of drug, drink and domestic abuse, and the theft of what used to be as free as the surf they threw themselves into on Melbourne’s swims. Here’s two brothers on film narrated by the elder of two years, Taz. Probably a psychopath but you’ll forgive him anyway. You wouldn’t kick a dog would you? Neither can you feel nothing but empathy for this fella, and Ben, soft spoken, the local resident no one can say bad about… yet.
Rated top of the Ozzie scene, these two brothers plan to take the grand old US of A. What can go wrong? Just two brothers with a history of not caring and academics in a world where outlandish bravery and madness is the key to pure havoc. Taz – actually pronounced ‘Tuz’ obviously hasn’t been to finishing school. Yet he amazes, both with skating and with honesty. There’s no release, as much as they can do they will do, then try harder again. Up in a cloud of weed, vodka and coke, not caring what conformity means, the Pappas brothers can do whatever they want, but this can only last so long; women, drink and song can only get you so far long. Cut yourself it bleeds, cut others, it’ll come back on you you ten-fold.
And here this subjective documentary runs from scandal, murder, suicide, prison, a challenge against Jesus, redemption of sorts, still skating Taz has wised up and screwed up so many times it’s hard not to believe he’ll do it again.
The only thing missing from this docu is the right to reply, the best thing a good reporter should carry in his arsenal. The Pappas brothers have a long feud with Tony Hawks, but we never hear from his camp. Why? Because the director never asked him, turning this more into a sacrament and eulogy to the Pappas brothers.
My heart says four out of five, my head screams three out of five. This time I’m letting the head rule. If you like skate flicks, madness, lighting farts and a commando urchin track to life, you’ll love this film. If not you’ll hate it. Pure Marmite.