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23 June 2011

180 South

directed by Chris Malloy

It’s a dirt bag’s best fantasy come true, and surfer Chris Malloy doesn’t try to deviate from the earnest style that makes his other docs so watchable. Malloy (the bearded, stoic searcher in 180o ) is the kind of surfer we romanticize: like Bodi in Point Break, minus the felonious behavior and band of criminal morons, and 180o seeks to convey that searcher’s sense with a no frills sincerity that blends well with his simplistic directorial approach. The doc follows Jeff Johnson as he seeks to re-tramp the trip his heroes took in 1968. The heroes in question are Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins (all you outdoorsy types should recognize those names), and the trip refers to the journey the pair made to Patagonia, a journey that came to define the course of both their lives forever. The locations and scenery alone make this film worth watching, and any film with a bunch of Mason Jennings songs is tops in my book. 180South doesn’t say anything new, but fans of such films as Riding Giants or Into the Wild (if you are anything like me) never tire of hearing the message retold against a new backdrop. Films like this always strike the same chord of melancholy and longing I feel for something that I cannot even articulate, and difference between 180o South and other, more powerful docs slash films, is that Malloy is still struggling with the possibility that he actually can articulate this feeling.

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