Bustin' Down The Door

"Very Good"

Bustin' Down The Door Review


Professional sports today are so well-financed that it's hard to imagine them without the trappings of agents, extravagant contracts, and round-the-clock coverage on ESPN. The cool part about Bustin' Down the Door, an enjoyable documentary about the birth of professional surfing, is that we see a sport in its infancy.

The sport's steps toward professionalism, detailed via interviews and Edward Norton's sometimes drowsy narration, started in the mid-1970s. Surfing has come a long way from its beginnings (young surfers used endorsements as a way to get desperately-needed free gear; punctuality was critical in maintaining surfers' tenuous professional status) to become the mainstream success (clothing lines like Quicksilver, magazines, endorsements) it is today. Surfing is still relatively new to the mainstream, so who knows what's going to happen in 30 years. Perhaps names like Mark Richards, Shaun Tomson, and Wayne "Rabbit" Batholomew will be forgotten as pioneers as a new wave of bigger, better surfers take over.

Over 30 years ago, these surf-crazed young men from South Africa and Australia fled to Hawaii's North Shore to ride the world's best waves. Brazen, competitive, and in love with surfing, these kids' zeal and new moves -- breathtakingly captured here in old photographs and film footage -- grab the attention of the surfing press.

But the attention (and prize money) comes with consequences, as native Hawaiians grow increasingly resentful over the outsiders' attention and their boastful, disrespectful behavior. As one interview subject notes, "It's not the way things were done in Hawaii." The resentment even takes a frightening, violent turn, from a collection of heritage-loving goons known as the "black shorts." Fortunately, a peace is reached, setting the wheels in motion for surfers to get paid for their passion as pros.

What makes Bustin' Down the Door so appealing is that it's not about sports but rather about the passion and dedication of some bronzed, mop-haired kids on a mission to become legitimate against all odds. It's a refreshing perspective on sports that we don't see nearly enough, so much so that it's hard to remember that many participate in sports for sheer love. Seeing the prominent figures from the events chronicled in Bustin' Down the Door tell their stories is an important reminder that athletes are passionate about the games they play. In the case of surfing, success hasn't bred contempt; at least not yet anyway.

The DVD includes interviews from the Santa Barbara Film Festival, deleted scenes, and trailers.



Bustin' Down The Door

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th September 2009

Distributed by: Screen Media Films

Production compaines: Fresh & Smoked

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Fresh: 29 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jeremy Gosch

Producer: Monika Gosch, Robert Traill

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