DVD Review: Bustin’ Down the Door (2008)

25 May

Bustin’ down the door shows that sports documentaries aren’t necessarily about the sports, so much as the characters and stories around them. This well edited, sonically appealing (Iggy, Bowie, Cohen) and well shot account of the birth of pro-surfers examines the motivation of three of the sports pioneers who, in 1975, really shook up the scene. Director Jeremy Gosch manages to establishes an intimate atmosphere which allows these men, now in the fifties, the space to open up, philosophise and at times break down. They tell similar tales of impoverished beginnings, an escape in the waves, and (eventually) the satisfaction of being acknowledged for their talent.







Despite the talking heads approach feeling a little dull and indulgent at times, these guys paint an inspiring and authentic picture of passion and persistence. The sport is now a multi billion dollar industry, but in their time being gnarly surfer dude often got you dismissed as hippy, counter-culture no-hoper. There were feuds with Hawaiian gangs, clawing your way from one tour to the next on zero budget, guaranteed bank loan refusals, and a fledgling industry that might throw a pair of shorts your way if you were lucky. 

The focus on just three, albeit outstanding, players in this international scene does limit the documentary somewhat and, as a result, it fails to spark the imagination in the way the similar, but more wide ranging, documentaries Bra Boys and Dogtown and Z-boys did. It makes a great accompaniment to those films and I’m sure sports fans will find plenty to pique their interest in the highly detailed accounts from three of its legends and the archival footage of the seventies surfing scene is pretty stunning. The average viewer, however, might find their eyes glazing over at times. Edward Norton’s mono-tonal narration certainly doesn’t help, and, dare I say it, is outdone by Rusty Crowes effort for Bra Boys. Don’t worry, I still love you Edward.


Wanna make love?

Wanna make love?

What really makes the documentary work, apart from its first rate production, are the universal themes of human character. The desire to pioneer, self-belief and achievement, rebellion, and determination are all present here in a very pure way. It’s hard not to be slightly envious that of these guys for pulling it off and not having submit to the drudgery of a job they want to escape.

Ronan MacEwan

Official Website: {link}

Available on DVD from June 3rd through the always brilliant Madman {link}

Not available on Laserdisc. Aww man!

Not available on Laserdisc. Aww man!



DVD Special Features

Fuel TVs Blue Carpet Special

Dan Merkel Slide Show

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Deleted Scenes

Over 30mins of bonus surfing footage

Surfrider PSAs

Teasers and trailers

Package contains 32 Page Booklet featuring photography of famed surf photographer Dan Merke


One Response to “DVD Review: Bustin’ Down the Door (2008)”

  1. Ronan Macewan May 25, 2009 at 10:12 pm #

    I can’t surf

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