Saturday, 26 June 2010

Fragmented Networks DVD Review

DVD Title: Fragmented Networks
Who's In It: Michael Tew, Adrian Wallace, James Keyte
Run Time: 28 minutes without bonus features
Where Can I Get It: Loco Skates

Fragmented Networks is the new film from Geoff Davies and Stuart Kinghorn. Filmed over the course of 3 years, it features Michael Tew, Adrian Wallace and James Keyte hitting spots across England, Scotland and California.

Things are off to a great start with a nice compilation edit from all skaters and some guest spots. The music choice is a little odd; the first track is by The Cure and features a lot of synthesised trumpets that really cheapen the footage. This is a shame because the footage throughout the film is always top-quality.

Most of the film is interestingly shot without a fish-eye lens. Because of this, you tend to see more the skaters' surroundings and it really makes their spots look a lot more impressive. The down-side to this is you don't get the impression of speed as well as you do with a fish-eye lens. This isn't a deal-breaker but it does make a lot of the bigger tricks look a little flat. Luckily, most of the California edit is shot with a fish-eye, making this portion of the film the most fun to watch.

Our favourite edit was easily James Keyte. Easily the youngest skater in the film, Keyte pulls off some massive tricks and has a greater variety in his arsenal than the other skaters featured. While he can grind and slide like the best, what really makes Keyte stand out are his ballsy gaps. Keyte's edit also features some of the only rock music in the film's soundtrack which instantly gets a plus-point from us.

Speaking of the soundtrack, there's a really nice selection of tunes on offer that certainly help the film a lot. We personally enjoyed the fact that the film isn't too UK hip-hop heavy (sorry guys, the American's do it better).

Next up is Adrian Wallace and Michael Tew, who also have great edits but their focus on grinds makes the film a little stale after a while. You can tell the creators have had a little difficulty keeping Wallace and Tew's edits fresh because these are the edits that are mainly cut with bails instead of varying tricks. However, Wallace's gap-to-lamp-post bail gave us a good chuckle.

Speaking of humour, we do enjoy it when films show a silly side to their skaters; it helps the viewer see there is some humanity to them. Unfortunately, we can't warm to Michael Tew who is seen smoking in a 'No Smoking' area and walking up to strangers in the street and then shouting at them to make them jump. Frankly, it makes him look like a bit of a tosser.

All in all, Fragmented Networks is a decent blading film but the emphasis on slides and Michael Tew's rubbish sense of humour hold the film back from being a 'must-buy'. Luckily, the bonus features help round the package out by doubling the DVD's running time. There's some cool stuff like an edit from Adrian Wallace skating in the snow and a great session from Barcelona.

A good showing but not essential:

3 wheels out of 5

FRAGMENTED NETWORKS TRAILER 2 from Fragmented Networks on Vimeo.

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