Photos by Sam Longmire
If you've yet to watch Mind Games yourself, you can see the full movie for free here.
Title: Mind Games
Director: Jamie Durham
Riders: Andy Nudds, Ollie Dutton, Tom Guilmard, Will Smith, Jamie Nicholls, Si Foster, John Weatherly, Matt Higson, Stu Edwards, Jon Addison, Jonny Russell, Tom Honey, Andy Laird, Stu Horsham and Ian Ashmore.
This is the British Grindhouse crew's second full-length movie, following on from last year's Scare Money. Like its predecessor, this movie gives the cream of the UK's snowboarding talent a platform to show their skills on celluloid. And as this country's best riders tend to focus largely on rail riding (a product of hitting dome set-ups week in, week out and the lack of readily available backcountry terrain in the UK!) this second film like the first, focusses largely on street rail riding.
The crew has grown beyond the original nucleus of Tamworth-based shredders and includes many of the best riders from Cas. This year they also had a large Scottish contingent, with rippers like Andy Laird, Jon Addison and Stu Horsham all getting involved. The length of time the crew spent filming also increased, and although much of the movie was shot in Helsinki (where they travelled several times) there were also trips to France, and Iceland. And although there wasn't an all-crew trip Stateside, Tom Honey's part was mostly filmed in Canada, where he spends his seasons.
Crazily enough given the quality of the film, almost all of Scare Money was made with just a single camera. But this year Jamie also had a second cameraman on-hand to help him out (the capable Carter Hewlett) which also made a difference. On the production side then, the movie represented its director's ambition after last year's film to "step it up a level". So what of the riding?
Things start strongly. A section mixing slams with several cutaway tricks and atmospheric shots of nordic landscapes serves as an intro, before Andy Nudds kicks things off with the opening part. Solid as always, Nuddsy obviously packed his stomping legs on the trips he took with the crew, as everything seems to be put down as clean as the proverbial whistle. And given what he's hitting, that's no mean feat. There's an absolute beast of a boardslide through a quad kink about halfway through, and a back one on cab one off on a lengthy double-kink at the end that if we were the kind of people who said OMG, would probably have us saying OMG.
Si Foster is up next, with a heavy part that includes a couple of banger "guest" tricks from Stu Edwards - his switch-up on the down-flat-down is so smooth. Then John Weatherley (and his bravestar doll) step up to the plate with his bouncy, easy steeze, some sizeable drop offs and a big gap to boardslide. A brief cameo from Jamie Nicholls follows, bringing some of the only park shots (and in fact, some of the few kicker shots) in the film, as well as the utter destruction of several now-familiar rails in Leeds.
The Scots get a few good tricks each before Jon Addison absolutely nails himself taco-ing a rail and ends up in hospital.
Things continue in a similar vein through most of the parts - impressive rail tricks set to mostly mellow, guitar-driven tunes. The Scots get a few good tricks each before Jon Addison absolutely nails himself taco-ing a rail and ends up in hospital. Matt Higson's part marks him out as an impressively stylish rider, and despite the fact that Jonny Russell told us he he "could have done better", his part - with it's cameo from Ian Ashmore - is also a banger, worth watching for the closing shot alone.
Tom Guilmard's section stands out from the rest not just because of the tune (a comedy calypso number by someone called the Bonzo Dog Band apparently) but also because of his inter-shot antics. The quality of the riding is also second to none, with his skinny stance making his tech tricks reminiscent of Jed Anderson. Ollie Dutton has also got some power moves in his baggy pants pockets, which he whips out in the second to last part to the accompaniment of a pumping Jay Z tune. If you were in any doubt before, then this should settle it - Dutton is one of the steeziest dudes ever to set foot on a snowboard.
He tees things up nicely for the final part, which (as you should have guessed if you've been following the rundown of names) goes to Yorkshire's Will Smith. The man is a snowboarding dynamo, a ball of energy who runs uphill for his next hit rather than hikes. Although he's hitting many of the same Helsinki spots that feature throughout the movie, Will brings something new and fresh to each one. Standouts include his rail transfers and the frankly awesome back one on switch back three out combo he throws down in Iceland. We also get to see him stomp a couple of impressive drops into powder - the only dude apart from Nuddsy to get any backcountry into his part.
His Tame Impala song segues nicely into the outro by the same band - It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards, over a whole bunch of super-8 footage shot throughout the season. With the whole thing over in a neat 35 minutes, it certainly doesn't drag, and nothing in the movie could be referred to as filler. It's true that by the end of the film, several of the spots have become pretty familiar, but that's inevitable when you're travelling and filming as a crew with one camera team. I'm sure if they were offered the budget to get a third and fourth filmer on board - and to hit different cities - the boys would jump at the chance.
The riding throughout is seriously impressive, and represents a step up from last year. There are of course tricks that wouldn't make the cut in say, a Videograss movie (or something at the very top end of the pro scale) but it's testament to the ability of the UK's rail riders that this would easily stand comparison with most of the crew films that come out of the States and Canada each year.
But it's the overall atmosphere of the film that really makes it stand out. Like all the Grindhouse stuff it's beautifully shot, with plenty of lingering takes of the incredible Scandinavian sunlight, as well as unusual angles on the actual features themselves. the camerawork is nicely complemented by the mostly chilled out soundtrack, and the editing is kept tight and to the point. Like last year's Scare Money this is an ambitious project - it's not easy making a full-length snowboard movie on a British-sized budget. But the Grindhouse have upped the ante, and once again put out a movie that shows the best of UK riding in the best possible light. This is a massive achievement, and another benchmark for British riding.
Whitelines rating: 7/10