Certainly a break from the old routine for the Snackbreak crew's latest movie. Disconnect has killer snowboarding linked together by a bizarre storyline set in a dystopian world...
Snowboard movies can be categorised in to three 'formulas'. The first is the old-fashioned 'best snowboarding from a crew of riders in a winter or two, chopped into parts and cut to music' variety. As a visual representation of the strongest riding put down in a specific timeframe it works well, but once you've spent several years watching such movies they need something truly special to make them stand out. Vans' Landline, or the Shredbots R3boot, are good examples of this working well.
Secondly, there's the documentary approach - be it on a rolling odyssey of a team of riders' travels round the planet hunting snow, or a focus on a particular rider. Think the Pirates' Boardbagged movies, Travis Rice's films, Jeremy Jones's Higher and the like.
Finally, though, there's the experimental movies: ones that have had decided to rip up the rule book and try something off the beaten track. Apocalypse Snow, FLF's Steak and Lobster, and Marco Lutz's Primevil are films in this vein from snowboarding's past, while more recently we've had Terminal Ferocity, Horgasm and Nicolas Müller's Fruition taking a more left-field approach.
The latest addition to the 'experimental' category is Snackbreak's new film, Disconnect. "After doing DIY snowboarding movies for years we had a feeling that we were repeating ourselves. So when we made Disconnect we went for a slightly different kind of snowboarding movie, a movie with a storyline that connects with the boarding," says rider/producer Johan Rosen.
Of course, movies in this vein run the very real risk of alienating the people they want to appeal to due to the excess of non-snowboarding action, plus the fact that a standard snowboarding movie is an easier beast to wrangle than one that also incorporates a storyline, acting, dialogue and the like.
That said, the alternative - just doing the tried and tested part movie - definitely becomes stale from a creative standpoint after several years, so you have to doff your cap to crews willing to put it on the line and try something original.
So how does Disconnect fare? In terms of the riding it's more than on point: Guys like Johan Rosen, Tommi Ollikainen, Joonas Eloranta and their friends guarantee that there's a mix of legit pow and street boarding from BC and Scandinavia. Most of it's sick. Some of it is insane.
As for the storyline, it's set in some dystopian future - part Children of Men, part The Matrix - where our hero Rosenberg, played by Rosen, gets drawn into a battle to disconnect the world from the internet. And Eloranta's ender seems to be the thing to do it.
It's well-exectuted for what is, let's not forget, a no-budget snowboard crew film. Snackbreak even went as far as to have the soundtrack produced exclusively for the movie by Trainspotters (who made tunes for the Random Bastards films), with lyrics giving more depth to the storyline.
Does it work? We'll leave it up to you to decide. While the acting and script won't win any Oscars the boys make a decent fist of it; it's for the most part well-shot and pretty well-done, and Snackbreak certainly deserve props for taking a punt and trying something new. Plus it all builds up to Joonas's internet-breaking ender - as a stand-alone part it's bonkers, but Snackbreak turn it up to 11 with their storied angle.
Check it out...