Black Diamond Rush (1993)

Movie nostalgics who occasionally whine about the disappearance of the 'full supporting program' would do well to check out this item, which resembles one of those cheap, charmless and cheery short subjects that Global Queensway used to churn out. Only it's four times as long, four times as dull, and it doesn't even have ten minutes of Pearl&Dean and a Bond movie coming afterwards to take the taste away.

Apparently, Warren Miller has been making documentaries about skiing for over forty years; according to his commentary, you'd have to be a complete feeb not to have heard of him and laugh at jokes about his personal appearance and private life. Having spent another happy year traipsing around various snow covered sections of the globe, Miller here splices together lots of footage of people in padded suits plunging through powder and, for comic relief, falling over. If you can sit still for it without being consumed with class hatred, there are spectacular runs and spills but, unlike the comparable surfing movie Endless Summer, it never comes up with any insight into the compulsion to whizz over the snows or even makes any especial visual capital of the undeniably gorgeous scenery.

There's non stop MOR rock from the likes of The Point, Kirsty MacColl (good grief) and Middleman, but the soundtrack is mainly afflicted by the maunderings and mumblings of the director himself. Miller evidently took How to Lose Friends and Irritate People lessons from the horribly jovial narrators of Disney's True Life adventures and he does his best with feeble jokes and patronising smarm to make skiers seem even stupider than they appear in interview snippets. By the end of 98 minutes, you'd cheerfully shove him off the side of an Alp, daring him to crack a few more of those half jokes before he splatters against the jagged rocks below.

The title, incidentally, refers to the experience of a Black Diamond run, which is skiing on especially deep snow even if it isn't black or made of diamonds.
KIM NEWMAN

First Published In: Empire (issue unknown)


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