All This Mayhem ***1/2 (out of five)

exclusive-all-this-mayhem-poster-165497-a-1405006361-470-75The less you know about Tas and Ben Pappas, the skateboarding brothers from Melbourne who are the subject of Eddie Martin’s excellent documentary, the more you’ll have your eyes opened – first to the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of this unique sport, then specifically to this tale of two brothers who flew too close to the sun.

At first, its a charming, if not ground-breaking, peek at skating from a Melbourne perspective – specifically, the “Prahan scene” that grew up around a particular ramp in that suburb. As it goes on, and the Pappas brothers grow in stature, the sport reveals its contradictions, personalities, lingo (there’s a lot of lingo, particularly coming out of the mouth of Tas Pappas, and it’s great fun) and dangers – the ones you’d expect and the darker ones you may not.

Although, on the surface, the film is constructed simply – with interviews and archival footage – it really is constructed impeccably well. Martin and his editor Chris King do extremely mature things with tone, allowing us gently and humorously into a story that gains incremental, then monumental, heft. If, like me, the sport and the Pappas brothers aren’t familiar to you, there is a thrilling and disturbing story here, with a fully realised and exotic milieu, heroes, villains, a compelling story arc, and gasp-inducing twists and turns. Excellent. Or, I should say, sick. I was stoked.

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