Directed by Tristan Patterson, Dragonslayer is a wonderfully tragic film, yet one that is filled with youthful joy and carelessness. Dragonslayer follows twenty-something skateboard bum Josh ‘Skreech’ Sandoval, as he follows his dream skating in competitions and backyard bowls of Southern California.
Along with his girlfriend, Skreech and the rest of his mates have a pretty good life on the surface; hanging out all day skating, entering competitions and getting wasted. The tragedy, however, comes when Skreech’s dream gets lost within the harsh reality of his life. With a young son, and a developing drug addiction, Skreech finds it hard to break free from his skater lifestyle, he also doesn’t see doing anything else as an option. Skating is his life.
Skreech flies out to Malmö, Sweden for a competition, and things begin to look up. He begins to take on the underdog ‘anti-hero’ persona who would eventually prove everyone wrong. This glory is short lived however, when we realise the full extent of his family problems and life, things begin to look like a vicious circle with no end in sight.
This film is shot PERFECTLY.
Hats off to director Tristan Patterson for the pure stylistic elements of this production. Each scene has it’s own ‘intro’ clip, which features brash, hardcore punk music teamed with big, white, bold lettering telling the name of the scene. All this against the backdrop of sunny Californian skater life. At times the film can be difficult, with the intense emotional disturbances in Skreech’s life, and sometimes, as a viewer, we want him to succeed more than anything. Patterson’s visual stylings really ease out the subject matter in a kind of DIY punk kind of way, it’s shot so casually and carefree, yet it looks the part.
This is not to point fingers, but to merely admire the simplicity of the amateur skateboarder’s life – skateboarding was my life from the age of about 11 to 18 – Dragonslayer is an insight to the day-to-day lifestyle of skaters, and while every subculture gets its ‘hangers on’, there is something very Zen about practising your discipline day in, day out.
From quiet meditations over beer and weed, to tearing up backyard bowls in the heat of the day. You could say Dragonslayer is a snapshot of perfection. You could also say it is an outgrown, teenage mess that needs cleaning up. Either way, you’d have to experience it first.