STEEP (Mark Obenhaus). 92 minutes. Opens Friday (January 18) Rating: NNN
The most iconic stunt in any of the James Bond series sends the steel-nerved superspy skiing off a cliff and pulling a Union Jack parachute.
But even 007 would be both shaken and stirred by the jaw-dropping, death-defying and, in one case, deadly alpine runs in this awe-inspiring documentary narrated by Peter Krause.
The Dogtown And Z-Boys of extreme skiing, Steep is stunningly photographed on pristine slopes so, ah, steep they’d give a mountain goat vertigo.
Even if you’ve never strapped on a pair of skis, this is arresting viewing. Thanks to a cadre of crazy characters – the adrenaline junkies who invented the sport and who hardly blink at the thought of dropping out of a chopper at 4,000 metres and plummeting down a mountain face at 100 kph – this is more than an assemblage of insane ski runs down the world’s wildest, woolliest hills.
Lost Boys every one, they speak about the beauty of skiing where no one has skied before. Their reflections, though more fortune cookie than Zen koan, are honest and stirring.
That’s why the film’s bone-rending crashes when these very same skiers lose their edge and cartwheel across the pristine white powder like out-of-control Indy cars elicit shock and horror instead of the usual blooper-reel smirks and giggles.
One scene, incredibly captured by director Mark Obenhaus, of three skiers being swallowed by a slow-moving avalanche is particularly chilling and will have you sympathetically clawing your seat, looking for daylight.