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The Search For Freedom (A Movie Review)

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

The Search For Freedom

The Search For Freedom


Featuring Ron Kauk, Robby Naish, Kai Lenny, Gary Fisher, Bruce Brown, Bob McKnight, Yvon Chouinard, Nyjah Houston, Kelia Moniz, Tom Schaar, Danny Way, Glenn Singleman, Heather Swan, Shane McConkey, Tony Hawk, Chris Burkard, Robbie Maddison, Warren Miller, Kelly Slater, Logan Laplante, Steve Pezman, Rob Campbell, Eric Crosland, Jeremy Jones, Annie Boulanger, Meg Roh, Ron Semiao, Gerry Lopez, Daizhon Mays and Tyson Thao.

Written by Jon Long.

Directed by Jon Long.

Distributed by ITM Film.  91 minutes.  Not Rated.

Extreme sports have been on a steady rise for over 50 years now, however it is really in the last generation or so that thrill seeking has become a way of life for Americans.  Over the years more and more people have grabbed a board or a bike or a ramp or a parachute or whatever and put their lives on the line just for the rush of sensation and exhilaration that comes from defying nature or gravity.

The Search for Freedom – a special limited-release documentary full of truly stunning footage of young (and not so young) athletes risking life and limb for the pure dopamine rush of experience – spends an hour and a half exploring many extreme sports.  There is awe-inspiring footage of everything from surfing to skiing, mountain climbing to mountain biking, motor cross to skate boards, rock climbing to cliff diving, snowboarding to motorcycle jumping to sky diving and many more.

And it looks amazing.  The cinematography of humans using the natural wonders of earth as a playground is exceptionally intriguing.  There are dozens of shots in this film that are literally suitable of framing.

As far as narrative thrust, it doesn’t really have one, but it’s not really needed.  Writer and director Jon Long gives a bit of background and interviews many of the athletes, and other people in that world like the owner of Quiksilver and the inventor of the mountain bike (who has one of the most amazing mustaches ever).  It makes perfect sense to speak with Bruce Brown, as he pioneered this art form with the legendary 1960s surfing film Endless Summer.

The interview sections are just fine, though they do not offer much insight, more a bunch of guys (and women) spouting new-agey homilies trying to explain the mindset of living life as a daredevil.

However, most of these people are athletes, not philosophers.  Therefore many of them say faux-insightful stuff like: “Trying to grab surfing is like trying to grab a snowflake.”  No, because surfing is an action, not an object, therefore it is not possible to “grab.”  No matter how zen that may sound, the statement really makes no sense at all.

Luckily, we don’t need words to understand the heady rush and thrill of these experiences.  A picture is worth a thousand words, and The Search for Freedom has a whole hell of a lot of spectacular, breathtaking pictures.

Click here to find local screenings:

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2015 All rights reserved. Posted: June 9, 2015.

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