Coming to dvd Feb.14th
Plot-At Seeds Academy in Dakar, Senegal- the tallest and most talented young basketball players from across West Africa are hand-picked to take part in a insane program of academics and athletic training. This documentary tells the tale of four 16 year olds who are all about 7 feet tall, and filmed over 4 years as they travel across two continents and trying to master english, dating, and drivers ed. They want to get to play basketball on a NCAA level and help their families.
Review-I loved Hoop Dreams. It was a 3 hour plus film that focused on 2 young men and their passion of basketball which consumed their hopes and dreams, and what they had to go thru. This film is under 90 minutes and focuses on 4 guys. Anne Buford deserves a lot of credit, she tries to cram so much in this little time that you almost feel that you miss more than you get. Elevate, features four ball players in Senegal who are fighting for a chance to get scholarships within the United States. Over the course of four years, we will see each as they venture into the American Prep School system in the hopes of qualifying for college sponsorship and NCAA competition. They have different degrees of success, as you watch this film you get that this film is out to encourage all of us to follow the dream,and not give up. But, in the same token..this film is so message heavy and less free flowing. Whereas the gold standard of sports documentaries have always felt at ease, and that the film spoke to you. This film just feels nervous, like you are being force fed this message of success, that you at times feel left out of the movie experience. I mean right now, we have so many people out of work, depression, and recession are at all time highs.. is this really the message the american populous needs right now? I did like the feel good aspect of the film, watching the 4 guys go thru their highs and lows, but it almost at times felt a bit show offy. Before I go any further, I just watched the Reggie Miller documentary the other night, and while that did not feel show offy, it was show offy at least Reggie had personality and made light of it in hindsight.
I love basketball, and I will watch any sports documentary and at least find a positive to it. And this has plenty, you really want to see these guys do good, but at the same time..the director just made the basketball almost secondary and I really commend them for wanting to make a better life for their families. These are just 4 teenaged boys who want to live the dream, whatever that is. As a whole the film was ok, but it just felt so pushy and message heavy at times, that it took away from the characters and flow. But, all in all..I had a good enough time with it to at least recommend it to anyone who loved Hoop Dreams and dug the Reggie Miller one as well.
7 out of 10