I’ve always thought I had a bit of a punk rock mentality. Though I have a job and pay my bills I felt that the little bit of trouble I could stir up on the weekend could keep me in the game. That was until I saw Dragonslayer, and no not the 1981 Disney classic either. What I learned from the tag- along documentary by Tristan Patterson is that being a chaos hobbyist is nowhere near what it takes to live that punk rock lifestyle.
Dragonslayer follows the life of Pro Skater Josh “Skreech” Sandoval, but not during his rise as a pro-skater. The documentary looks more at the aftermath of his life. Skreech played hard and maintained a solid respect for a life of no rules and regulations making him the perfect subject for this documentary. While this way of life made him a legend in the past it’s also what hinders him in the future. Now a new father, Skreech attempts to put the pieces of a long forgotten career back together.
Director Tristan Patterson decided that after most of his screenplay endeavors had just fallen short of that big green-light that he would focus on something more truthful. So when he stumbled into the punk rock lifestyle of Dragonslayer he found everything he wanted to say in his writing in his star Skreech. The thing that makes the film so special is that Patterson took a more wildlife take to the film by making authenticity his main achievement. The story was unfolding right in front of him and all he needed to do was shoot it. You can feel this in great strides with the film. Patterson knew that Skreech lived a life that Hollywood just could not project and that most people just could not comprehend.
The lifestyle that Skreech chooses to live is interesting all in it’s own, living like the king of the homeless he drives from skate park to skate park and preaches his punk rock lifestyle through drunken ramblings. Living life off the grid sounds exhilarating on paper but when you see it play out in front of you it leaves a bit of a sour taste. This is where the film lives and breathes, coming off less like a film about skateboarding and living your life on the edge and focusing more on the subject of one person to tell the grand story.
Set to a soundtrack that perpetuates this kind of lifestyle Dragonslayer becomes a film that demands to be seen. Never is the pill popping, beer drinking, anti-establishment superhero shown in any other light than the one he casts on himself. This means we are left with times that the film drags a bit, but it never leaves it’s viewer less intrigued. To me it was more of an eye-opening experience into a lifestyle that I had only heard sensationalized. Now coming face to face with it’s reality it forces me to reassess my thoughts on the genre. Now I’m not trying to say that the film changed my life, but that it made me rethink the ideas I had about the subject. Dragonslayer is worth the time that it will take you to seek it out and I hope that everyone takes the time to do so.
I give Dragonslayer 4 “Punk Rock Cowboys” out of 5.
by Ryan Davis