Sunday, March 28, 2010
In God's Hands (1998)
In God's Hands is about three surfers who want to surf the biggest wave. There is an older surfer--Mickey--out of his prime but still a good surfer. Near the end, viewers learn that Mickey struggles with the new techniques of big wave surfing--jet ski tow-ins. He tells us that he was #2. I guess Mickey never got over that one. Another character is the young aspiring surfer from Hawaii--Keoni--who can't wait to get on the world tour. He sees the best in Mickey and he and Mickey both admire the focus of the movie, Shane (Shane Dorian). Most of the surfing footage is of Shane. He doesn't speak much but when he does you better listen because it is about the deep, secret meaning of a surfers life that only dedicated surfers seem to understand. People don't really get Shane, they just respect him. This could have been a documentary about the emergence of tow-in surfing since Riding Giants (2004) hadn't come out yet. But this was a movie with characters and a plot.
I would say the plot of In God's Hands attempts something along the lines of Big Wednesday meets The Endless Summer. The connection between friendship and surfing is present and persists throughout the movie. These surfers care for one another. Although their friendship is not developed much and we never see how what brought them together. Shane comes to Mickey's rescue, even pulling him out of the water before nearly drowning. And Mickey attempts to "teach" a girl english, only to get the three thrown in a South African prison. The narrator and surf journalist Wyatt (a.k.a. Shaun Tomson) makes their dramatic release possible. Instead of following the sun around the world, however, In God's Hands follows Shane and his friends eastward from South Africa to Bali to Hawaii and lastly on a solo session of Shane's to Todos Santos, Baja California.
In the end, In God's Hands gets a 2 star rating. I liked the surfing but not the plot.