Film Review

‘The Tangerine Dream’

— Teton Gravity Research (2005)

Can you do that? my wife asks, soon after we've popped the new TGR film, the Tangerine Dream into the DVD player. Uh...sure. Of course I can. Usually. With a little practice. On a good day. Maybe. A new Teton Gravity Research film offers you the chance to check up on the kids, see what they're up to, and give your head a wistful shake. For cutting-edge air work and what I'll call "managed" free-fall, Tangerine Dream is state of the art.

The Tangerine Dream

This is really more a collection of highlight clips than a film proper, which makes it best suited, perhaps, for the big screen tv at the local gin joint. But pay attention and you'll find a few sequences that are inspired.

I liked the big-air Pyramid Gap segment, in which Utah fanatics take advantage of a natural terrain feature to create a massive gap. For some reason, it's just not hard enough front-ways, so the boys decide to hit it backwards.

Engleberg, Switzerland offers phenominal terrain and snow, inspiring skiing, and the best camerawork of the film (which otherwise tends toward static shots through long lenses).

Also inspiring is the skiing of Jeremy Nobis, a former US Ski Team racer who's found his calling as a freeskier. Nobis demonstrates the pinacle of a new descent tactic: essentially allowing his speed to build up past the point of no return, such that he's ultimately forced to straight-shoot everything, even near-vertical couloirs, to avoid self-destruction.

Whether or not this 'technique' agrees with your sense of mountaineering asthetics, it makes for a hell of a video. Speaking of mountaineering, if you haven't realized it by now, this is not a mountaineer's film. The skiers and snowboarders in Tangerine Dream reach their summits via helicopter, occasionally scampering along knife-edge aretes like in-bounds skiers gone horribly off course. Someone, as they say, is going to get hurt doing this. You certainly shouldn't try this at home.

That goes doubly for the film's finale sequence. I won't spoil it by revealing details, but I will confess I keep watching it over and over. And that final shot, when the TGR logo proudly flashes on the screen, is simply breathtaking. It's a different world, to be sure, but these guys love what they're doing. And it shows.

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