Loving Your Brain: ‘The Crash Reel’ Story and Just Say ‘No’

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By: Grace Paulus, Miami Future Cinema Critic

The Crash Reel 

The dangers of extreme sports are often overlooked and sadly enough there is just not enough awareness on the subject. Director, Lucy Walker (Waste Land, Devil’s Playground) sheds light into the world of competitive snowboarding in The Crash Reel. The film follows pro-snowboarders, Kevin Pearce and Shaun White and their determination to reach the top and qualify for the 2010 Olympic team. Everything changes when Kevin Pearce had a bad run during a competition and almost didn’t make it out alive.
Walker really dives into the reality of Pearce’s most trusted support system, his family. Combined with his intense motivation to get back on the snow and his family’s objections, this film presents multiple perspectives that really shape the path Pearce decides to take at the end of the film which makes it truly inspiring.
Powerful and fascinating, The Crash Reel, intimately follows Pearce’s journey of physical transformation as he battles a severe traumatic brain injury that changed his life forever. In the Q&A following the screening, Lucy Walker describes Pearce as the perfect subject who was unafraid of being open throughout his struggle for recovery. She had met Pearce after the crash and didn’t realize until after meeting his family, that she discovered his story would make for an interesting documentary. Walker also revealed that this movie is unlike any out there, giving insight to the importance of advocating safety and her inspiration from the film to start the #LoveYourBraincampaign. This engaging documentary is a story about hope, family, and being able to face your fears.

Faced with a new sense of the future, No directed by, Pablo Larrain is a captivating story about the last days of Pinochet’s dictatorship of Chile and the bright and happy campaign that it fell under. No is a fast paced, edge of your seat movie, starring one of Latin America’s most recognizable actors, Gael Garcia Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries) as an optimistic, open-minded advertising executive.
No stays true to the world of 1988 Chile with it’s grainy and over exposed cinematography combined with striking archival footage of the campaigns and news reports. These elements add extra tension really capturing, the viewer’s attention from beginning to the nerve-racking results of the votes. Although this is a feature film, Larrain has chosen to shoot it in this documentary style, which gives it a sense of urgency. The film reveals the making of a new future for Chile and what it is to be a part of world history. 


Jaie Laplante

Jaie Laplante is the Miami Film Festival's executive director and director of programming. Learn more about Jaie on Programmers.