We’ve all seen the videos. People hurtling themselves around urban landscapes on skateboards and bicycles; and usually set to dubstep or some sort of thumping EDM. The athletes often wear big t-shirts and droopy pants or skinny jeans. More often than not (thankfully) these brave souls will wear a helmet, adorned with a highly visible energy drink logo that, not without considerable effort, finds its way into those HD slow motion shots that every single one of these videos have nowadays. Yes, yes, we’ve pretty much seen them all, but then there’s this one.
“Above Below” is a documentary produced by Monster Energy in association with DIG BMX. In it director Richard Forne takes us beyond the viral videos’ gloss and polish to reveal a small taste the gritty reality the BMX athletes’ lives. Action footage shares time with interviews where Ben Lewis, Dakota Roche, Fernando Laczko, Ed Zunda, Nathan Williams and Dan Lacey speak candidly about their sport. Actually sport is too mild a word. Riding BMX is a lifestyle, compulsion, obsession, a calling to them, and indeed better left described in their own words through Forne’s work.
You can’t help but admire their dogged nature to keep going when even their own bodies refuse to cooperate. Admittedly it was uncomfortable to see them push past pain and injury or risking arrest for sake of a trick; but this is how they live. They set out to accomplish a task and won’t stop until it’s done. No matter how long it takes and even if the cost is leaving their blood on the pavement. Some may call them crazy, but I wonder if we’ve ever had that level of passion and determination for anything in our lives, or ever will.