Charting the meteoric rise of the Pappas brothers – two Australian street urchins who took the world of professional skateboarding by storm in the ’90s – ALL THIS MAYHEM is a frenzied cautionary tale of success and self-destruction.
The story of Tas and Ben Pappas is the subject of this stranger-than-fiction documentary from director Eddie Martin. From desperate beginnings growing up in the suburbs of Melbourne, the hard-nosed brothers followed their improbable dreams to America where they became the two best pro-skaters in the world.
Their respective approach to skateboarding echoed their personalities. Tas, a bullish but charismatic figure who narrates much of the film with an extraordinary openness, skates with a wild aggression that borders on the obnoxious. While the younger, more introverted Ben gracefully glides over ramps before effortlessly launching into the air. Their journey to the top – which ultimately overthrows skateboarding luminary and villainous corporate machine Tony Hawk – is made all the more triumphant because of their brotherly kinship. The unlikely duo made it and they made it together.
After the high comes the low. What follows is like a Shakespearean tragedy for the MTV generation. The perils of being young and successful trap the hapless brothers in a whirlwind of excess. As Tas says, “things get heavy” when debauchery and drug use turns all the mayhem dangerously sour. After a series of shocking revelations their careers and lives spiral out of control bringing painful, heartrending consequences.
Combining the energy of landmark skateboarding documentary DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS with the shocking drama of THE IMPOSTER, Eddie Martin has made a candid documentary that transcends its extreme sports subject matter. Through rapidly interweaving frank interviews and archive television footage with a plethora of home video recordings, this revelatory story unravels at a frenzied pace. ALL THIS MAYHEM is a blazing, compelling documentary that’s not to be missed.