Film Review: Dragonslayer
Nothing to do with the 1981 Disney fantasy classic of the same name, this Dragonslayer is a documentary about skater Josh ‘Skreech’ Sandoval. Tristan Patterson’s film is competently made, but lacks substance.
Only in his twenties and a new father, Josh ‘Skreech’ Sandoval is a veteran of the Fullerton, California skateboarding scene. Making a half-hearted attempt at a comeback, Skreech enters skateboarding competitions with limited success. Instead, he seems more content to hang out at skate parks, drinking and smoking with friends…
Patterson’s documentary offers a good illustration of the life of Skreech. The drawback here is that Skreech is not the most interesting subject for a documentary. His existence is rather mundane, and as the film progresses it becomes quite repetitive with the protagonist engaging in similar habits and behaviour. The audience’s perception of Skreech differs vastly from his own perception of himself. There are times in the film when it seems like he will evaluate his life; such as failing in the competition. However, viewers may be waiting for a moment of realisation that never arrives as such. Although there is change by the very end, any realisation appears subtly and over time in Dragonslayer.
Skreech’s girlfriend Leslie is actually the most interesting character in the documentary. The dynamic of their relationship is quite intriguing; Leslie exhibits the wisdom Skreech seems to lack, despite her youth. Patterson has done a fantastic job of conveying the vibe of the scene through the use of music and style of shooting.
It is the tattoo artist who offers the most succinct appraisal of Skreech’s lifestyle and the Fullerton skater scene in general. Dragonslayer offers a taste of this lifestyle, although any aftereffects are short lived.
Dragonslayer is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2011.