Mark Mathews is a Big Wave Surfer. He dreams of being the best. Richie "Vas" Vaculik, Mark's best mate, shares his love of Big Wave Surfing but has his own ambitions. A carpet layer by day, Richie dreams of becoming an MMA Cage-Fighting Champion. Both are fearless, living life on the edge, daring each other to surf bigger waves, party harder, take greater risks. But when their adrenalin-seeking antics & hardened partying turns sour, it sets in motion a dramatic and life-changing series of events that threatens to derail everything they have worked so hard for. In an instant, Mark's Big Wave surfing career is in tatters & Richie is facing a jail term. Their unwavering friendship gives them the courage to battle their demons, rise up from their troubled past & conquer their fears.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Made in the wake of the highly popular 2009 doco, Bra Boys, the story of surfing tribes in Sydney's famed beachside suburb of Maroubra, Fighting Fear is also a mix of surf movie, buddy movie and social documentary - with mixed martial arts as a bonus. It is more accomplished than Bra Boys in style terms, and its focus on best friends Mark and Richie gives the film a tough love aura.
Friends since childhood, and sharing the pain of broken homes at the same time, Mark and Richie develop a strong bond that is every bit as powerful as family ties. Through their riotous, dangerous and reckless youth and the subsequent pain of paying the price, the young men grow more mature. They both surf passionately, and Richie develops his natural talent for boxing into punishing form in MMA - mixed martial arts.
Filmed over three years, the candid interviews with the two men and additional interviews with friends, peers and family, combine to paint a picture of a couple of determined and dedicated sportsmen. Mark's terrifying wipeout experience and Richie's sobering confrontation with the prospect of jail are both life changing events which the film documents with clarity and emotional zing.
The driving factor for both is daring to do the most difficult thing in whatever they're attempting. It really is fighting fear, and when the publicity material says "surprisingly emotional, powerfully uplifting and utterly compelling film .." for once we can believe it.
Studded with extraordinary images of big wave surfing, Macario De Souza (co-director of Bra Boys) and his editing team manages to balance the film's disparate elements of Joel Edgerton's restrained narration, fresh interviews, archival footage and re-enactments in a satisfying and exciting mix that will no doubt drive the film to challenge the enormous popularity of Bra Boys.
Published first in the Sun-Herald
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FIGHTING FEAR (M)
CAST: Documentary featuring Mark Mathews, Richie "Vas" Vaculik, Kelly Slater, BJ Penn, Stephanie Gilmore, Mick Fanning
NARRATION: Joel Edgerton
PRODUCER: Sue Masters, Michael Lawrence, Macario De Souza
DIRECTOR: Macario De Souza
SCRIPT: Sue Masters, Michael Lawrence
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Chris Bryant, Macario De Souza, Brooke Silvester
EDITOR: Macario De Souza
MUSIC: Twice As Nice
RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Garage Entertainment
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 10, 2011