Dragonslayer | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


A skateboarder contemplates growing up in this indie doc

Tristan Patterson's very shaggy documentary profiles Josh "Skreech" Sandoval, a semi-professional skateboarder from Orange County, California. It's a slice-of-life film that seemingly catches Skreech in a transitional time of his life: He's mostly dropped out of the skating circuit; he's a physical wreck, spending much of the day getting high; and he's homeless. On the other hand, he has a new girlfriend; some interest in being a father to his infant son, Sid Rocket; and is sort of planning a road trip. Patterson relays Skreech's tale in 10 disjointed "chapters," composed of vérité-style footage. Some moments are profoundly illuminating, such as the sunshine-and-concrete ennui of Southern California post-housing crisis, or the glaring dysfunction these disaffected teen-agers combat with drugs, studied fearlessness and a refusal to grow up. And in a low-budget production marred by low light and poor sound, there are the occasional beautifully captured images. But the film also begs for more background, especially since Skreech isn't that interesting of a guy, and a steadier structure. I suspect the film's looseness is meant to mirror its subject and his chaotic skate-punk milieu, but it's a gamble that mires Dragonslayer's occasional remarkable intimacy in duller, less-focused footage. Starts Fri., Feb. 3. Harris (Al Hoff)

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