The Crash Reel
Covering the triumphs and tragedies of Kevin Pearce, The Crash Reel is a surprisingly emotional documentary. As in I was literally wiping away a few traitorous tears in the theater, along with several other members of the audience. The sadness stems not from the accident itself, though that was brutal and upsetting to watch, but from seeing a man with such athletic potential struggle to find a new identity after a future that had been so clearly defined is so completely taken away.
The editing in The Crash Reel is flawless. With footage from over 200 sources, from snowboarding competitions to Olympics coverage to news footage to home videos from the Pearce family, it's all seamlessly combined into a film and looks like everything belongs together. The storytelling begins with Kevin at the top of his game, preparing for the Vancouver Olympics, then tragedy strikes at Park City, and he's in the hospital with a traumatic brain injury. From there, the film goes back to detail how Kevin came to become such a fantastic snowboarder who was on par with and even beating Shawn White in competitions. The film follows Kevin through rehabilitation and as he struggles to accept that perhaps he cannot return to competitive snowboarding and what that future looks like.
Perhaps the best part of The Crash Reel has nothing to do with the cinematography, editing style, or music, it's that the Pearce family is brutally honest on camera about their efforts to adapt after the accident and learning what a traumatic brain injury entails. As this documentary clearly shows, TBI doesn't just affect the person injured, it affects everyone. The Crash Reel is a story of tragedy, and eventually, it turns into a story of acceptance.