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Cinephile Report - Sk8 Life Directed by Wyeth Clarkson

Opening Friday Febuary 9th at the Royal Theatre

If you love skateboarding and the loose sensibilities of directors like Richard Linklater and Harmony Korine then Wyeth Clarkson's fresh from Sundance flick Sk8 Life is totally for you.

Sk8 Life falls somewhere in between an expertly made Can-con skate trick flick and a low-budget naturalistic urban drama. The thin plot centers on real Vancouver skater Kris Foley and a group of Vancouver skater kids who all live at his notorious Crash Pad with his wife over one summer. When increasing property taxes threaten the fate of the house Kris tries to pull in old debts, rush together a skate video and even beg favors in order to save his legendary house.

All the actors in Sk8 Life are more skate pros then thesbians but that fact doesn't completely derail Sk8 Life. The rough around the edges acting provides some raw realistic qualities to certain scenes. This style helps elevate the at times weak dialogue and gives the film a very docu-drama dogma feel.

The real key to this film is in it's trippy animation sequences (think punk rock low budget Waking Life) and it's warm and rich cinematography that writes East Vancouver an urban love letter. Cinematographer John Ainslee even won Best Cinematography for Sk8 Life at the Whister International Film Festival and his efforts definetely show up on the screen.

The screenplay written by Clarkson and close friend Elan Mastai (who penned Most Valuable Primate 2 featuring a monkey on a skateboard) does have its' moments. Touching on the themes of age vs. career, style vs. sport and the follies of communal living, the script helps tie together a loose narrative with the energetic skate footage.

The film funded by Telefilm and other skateboard companies definitely stands as a testament to how complex and mature skate videos have become. The film is not a masterpiece but if there is anyone on the planet who can make a huge rich crossover flick with the combination of skater trick videos and real drama my money's on Clarkson. Watch him on his way there it's a pretty entertaining ride.


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