Review: ‘Snowboarder’

A dorky Alps-set soap opera with thrilling second-unit photography, "Snowboarder" has talk-back-to-the-screen potential. Handsome leads -- including heartthrob Gregoire Colin -- keep the proceedings watchable. Prospect of auds lured by tempting trailer justify theatrical outings wherever distribs bite, but pic will live long and prosper on video.

A dorky Alps-set soap opera with thrilling second-unit photography, “Snowboarder” has talk-back-to-the-screen potential. Handsome leads — including arthouse heartthrob Gregoire Colin with the least flattering haircut this side of Travis Bickle on a rampage — keep the cheesy proceedings watchable. Prospect of auds lured by tempting trailer justify theatrical outings wherever distribs bite, but pic, complete with gratuitous sex and nudity, will live long and prosper on video.

Talented young snowboarder Gaspard (Nicolas Duvauchelle), works in retired athlete Beshop’s (Jean-Pierre Ecoffey) ski shop in Grenoble while waiting for his big break. Gaspard’s idol, aging champion snowboarder Josh (Colin), lures him to ritzy Gstaad, Switzerland. Little does Gaspard suspect that Josh’s largesse — which includes his boarding school jailbait g.f. Ethel (Juliette Goudot) — is not innocent. But, since Josh’s facial expressions all are drawn from the Glare Like Lucifer Handbook, ulterior motives should cross Gaspard’s mind. The kind of pic where ominous synthesizer chords signal the hissable villain, venture does have an unexpected twist toward the long-in-coming end. Lensing and editing of majestic snow sequences depicting the whooshing rush of long daring rides down pristine steep slopes is aces; dramatic scenes merely adequate.

Snowboarder

France-Switzerland

Production

A Mars Films Distribution release (in France) of a Nord-Ouest Production, StudioCanal, Rezina Produstions, Rhone-Alpes Cinema, OXB Prods. (France)/ Cab Prods. (Switzerland) production, with participation of Canal Plus, M6, Sofica Studio Images 8, Rhone-Alpes Region, with support of Eurimages, L'Office Federal de la Culture Suisse.(International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Produced by Benoit Jaubert. Directed by Olias Barco. Screenplay, Julien Sax, Paolo Rota, Barco.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Damien Morisot; editor, Ursula Lesiak; music, Jean-Baptiste Loussier; production designer, Mathieu Menut; costume designer, Jooyun Gonnet; second unit director and camera, Didier Lafond. Reviewed at Grand Rex Theater, Paris, March 31, 2003. Running time: 109 MIN.

With

Nicolas Duvauchelle, Gregoire Colin, Juliette Goudot, Jean-Pierre Ecoffey, Camille de Sablet, Franck Khalfoun, David Luraschi, David Vincent.
Stunts: Jean-Baptiste Charlet, Marc-Andre Tarte, Jonathan Charlet, Jonathan Collomb-Patton.
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