Written by Patrick Hao
I can never do what Jérémie Heitz and Sam Anthamatten do as a homebody New Yorker whose biggest risk is minding the gap between the subway platform and the 7 train every morning. Heitz and Anthamatten are free skiers who try to find the most intimidating mountain ranges on the planet and ski down them. La Liste: Everything or Nothing is a documentary about what goes into their decision making and preparation into skiing down some of these dangerous locations. Everything or nothing is an apropos title to such a venture. Either they are successful in their venture, or they die.
Extreme sports have always been a topic of fascination in the documentary sphere. There is inherent drama in whether these people will succeed. But there is a fine line between just footage of people doing incredible things and a feature film worth attending to. Unfortunately, Eric Crosland’s film feels more like the former. Produced by Red Bull Studios, this wonderful footage shot by an extraordinary crew of filmmakers who had to risk their lives unfortunately felt like an inspirational promotional video. I half expected to see a “Skip this Ad” button to pop up during the middle of it so I can get to my umpteenth time watching Bernard King highlights.
It is especially funny that the filmmakers decided to interview Jimmy Chin, director of Meru and Free Solo for this project. He has become godfather of making films with extreme sports subjects – someone who is intimately familiar with the risks involved without ever forgetting the human dramas underlying these athletes. He is tasked with giving weight to what Heitz and Anthamatten are doing, but unlike a film subject like Alex Honnold, we never really get a sense of them as people beyond their sport. That makes them difficult to latch on to or care about.
But hey, there’s cool ski footage.
La Liste: Everything or Nothing Trailer
La Liste: Everything or Nothing will premiere in the US in over 600 cinemas in a one-night only theatrical event on Tuesday, December 7,