Deep Winter, 2008.
Directed by Mikey Hilb.
Starring Eric Lively, Kellan Lutz, Michael Madsen, Peyton List and Luke Goss.
Two snowboarders make it their goal to conquer an unrideable mountain.
When is a film not a film? When it's an extreme sports video with a story stapled on in a panic at the last minute. Now I'm a lay man when it comes to the nuances of snowboarding and downhill skiing. Obviously, a film exclusively dealing with the subject isn't going to be my first choice when it comes to vegetating in from of the telly all evening. The main problem with Deep Winter, is that it seems to think it can just sell an entire film on it's only saving grace. It's almost as if fusty things such as narrative, dialogue and character development don't really matter at all to Mikey Hilb.
Deep Winter follows a plot so simple, you could play generic rock music loudly over the top and nothing will be lost on you. In fact, the film does that anyway. Downhill skier Tyler Crowe (Eric lively) is reunited with his childhood friend, Mark Rider (Kellan Lutz), after becoming the human equivalent of a Formula One crash during his last ski run. The two are offered to do an extreme sports video by impatient video producer, Stephen Weaks (Luke Goss). But this isn't any regular run. This is "The Meteorite", the most unrideable mountain in the world. And there I was thinking it looked just like any other mountain.
Whilst the story won't exactly keep you no the edge of your seat, the stunt photography will. The ski runs flick between a breakneck speed point of view of the boarders and skiers. It's a cheap trick, but it had me bracing myself for impact. But there's not enough of it, to be perfectly frank. Instead we flip back to what appears to be a half arsed angst story that was so obviously second in the queue in the film's priority. And attached to that, is a an even more uninspiring love story. I was surprised to find myself urging him to ski, rather than have wild sex.
By the time Deep Winter had ended, I didn't feel our hero really achieved something. Is it a film about one man's struggle against adversity to get life's big prize? Or is it an ironic view at how tunnel vision-ed someone can get to do what they want that they jeopardise everything in their life, only to come away with less than they had at the start? I preferred the latter as it was a more poignant message about extreme sports in general. Deep Winter is more of an avalanche than a mountain peak.
Will Preston is a freelance writer from Portsmouth. He writes for various blogs (including his own website) and makes short films.