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BMZ Review: Extreme
By Paula Tagle


Written by: Paula Tagle
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: March 12, 2004


Category: Reviews

In a daring exploration of unconventional sport, Extreme depicts six nature-based activities reserved only for the most gutsy of athletes.  Big wave surfing, skiing, ice-climbing, snowboarding, windsurfing and rock-climbing are the subjects of the film and carry enough danger they could only be described as "extreme."

It would be easy to interpret these nature-based sports as a struggle between "Man vs. Nature."  That old chestnut, however, would in fact be a misreading of both the sports and the film, not to mention a disregard of the women athletes who also participate in these action sports.  Rather, the film quickly reveals that to engage in these sports is not to conquer nature but instead reach a sense of harmony with it.

Extreme articulates this harmony in its masterful use of epic images: surfers amidst some of the biggest waves ever surfed, skiers and snowboarders flowing down the slope of a pristine mountain, ice-climbers inching their way on the vertical face of a frozen waterfall.  These images especially work on a large format screen.  The grand medium expresses both the immensity of the natural world and our almost-microscopic place within it.

Surprisingly eloquent voice-overs pepper the film, offering insights into these sports and the reasons behind the athletes' participation in them.  The film also features a perfectly-suited soundtrack, one that accentuates both the brash of these athletes and also a certain tranquil rhythm in their movements.  An interesting film, Extreme venerates these unique sports in all their danger, intensity and grit.

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