An Australian documentary slash Greek tragedy, All This Mayhem (2014, dir. Eddie Martin) is a story about the rise and downfall of professional skateboarding brothers Tas and Ben Pappas. Its synopsis is as follows:
All This Mayhem is a searing account of what happens when raw talent and extreme personalities collide. In this unflinching, never-before-seen account of drugs and the dark side of professional skateboarding, brothers Tas and Ben Pappas’ intense bond and charisma take them from the pinnacle of their sport into a spiraling world of self-destruction. (source)
For those who are new to Film Grimoire, my ‘Thoughts on Film’ segment is where, instead of writing a full review of a film, I just share a couple of thoughts that stood out for me whilst watching it. It may seem like the easy way out, but it’s also a quick way to figure out if you really like something or not!
Without further ado, here are a couple of my thoughts on All This Mayhem.
- I totally never got into skateboarding, nor anything to do with the Tony Hawk videogames, but this film actually made me enjoy watching footage of skate tricks.
- It goes without saying that if you’re a fan of the skateboarding sport, then you probably need to watch this.
- The majority of All This Mayhem is archival footage, with the odd talking head interview every now and then from Tas Pappas and fellow skateboarding comrades. Despite being somewhat of an unreliable narrator, Pappas directs the story with honesty and charm.
- As a native Melbournian, it was also a nice nostalgia kick to see grungey footage of my city from back in the 90s.
- All This Mayhem and Amy (2015) act as an interesting double bill when watched together; Amy being another documentary about rising to fame and losing all momentum due to substance misuse. Both films point to intense personalities and talents who are drawn to drugs, and seeing the before and afters of people who have succumbed to addiction is truly chilling.
- The documentary is very well produced and edited, and the fact that so much footage was pulled together to construct an engaging and interesting story for someone who doesn’t have too much of an interest in skateboarding, is really commendable.
- An interesting portrait of pure talent found and subsequently lost to drug abuse and general debauchery slash hedonism, All This Mayhem is one of those documentaries where you sometimes want to look away from, but you really can’t.
- Here’s a video of Tas Pappas in action (in his prime), for your enjoyment, with a nice amount of Australian swearing:
Watch the trailer here.