Step into Liquid (PG)

Documentary 87 August 15, 2003
By Gregory Weinkauf
Surf movies commonly rely on rawkin' soundtracks instead of, say, harp to convey the feeling of riding the Big One…but despite the formula, director Dana Brown (a major player on The Endless Summer 2) actually adds a track with harp, while some barrel-worshipin' faithful commune with monster waves 100 miles off the coast of San Diego. That visually miraculous epiphany comes late in this lovingly lensed doc, which enthusiastically explores what lifelong daily surfer Dale Webster calls "the ultimate spontaneous involvement in a natural medium." Brown globe-trots to illustrate this thesis, introducing the wild women surfers of Tahiti, a Vietnam vet surfer returning to Danang with his young son, industrial Texan waveriders, Catholic and Protestant kids surfing harmoniously in Ireland (!), Aussie hotdoggers, and provincial Middle Americans -- plus endless California dreamers appraised as bearing "every personality defect in the book." The movie's diplomatic breadth compromises its thematic depth -- it basically repeats that fun conquers all -- but few movies will so generously rawk a crowd this year.
Dana Brown Rochelle Ballard, Shawn Barron, Layne Beachley, Jesse Brad Billauer, Taj Burrow Dana Brown John-Paul Beeghly Artisan Entertainment


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