“There’s three sides to every story. My side, your side and the truth.” Tas Pappas has a hell of a story to tell and he tells it with a stark and visceral honesty. Be prepared to hear the word fuck used as a verb, adjective, advert and noun.
All This Mayhem follows Tas and his brother Ben: two half-Greek, half-Aussie bogans who went from kick-flipping in Melbourne’s Prahran skate park to being placed first and second in pro skate boarding’s world rankings.
In the hands of the enormously talented filmmaking team that brought us Senna and Exit Through the Gift Shop, All This Mayhem is more than simply another gritty sports doc. It’s an exhilarating and ultimately tragic tale of brotherly love, fame, success, and excess.
In the late 1990s the Pappas Brothers were the undisputed kings of the vert – living the life like rock stars with all the “coke, birds and mayhem” that came with the gig.
By their own admission Tas and Ben were never an easy fit into the slick and increasingly commercial world of American pro boarding. They were too brash, too passionate, too in your face. For them the sport was always about individuality and freedom of expression – an attitude that clearly didn’t sit well with clean cut poster boy, Tony Hawks. In fact Tas’ declaration that “Tony Hawks can suck my dick” pretty much sums up the sort of attitude that made the brothers friends and enemies in equal measure.
The documentary draws heavily on archive footage and it’s impossible not to feel a surge of sympathy for these two wide-eyed kids who are about to be so spectacularly chewed up and spat out by the fame factory. And their decent is as spectacular as it is shocking with prison, psychosis, and murder all thrown into the mix.
This is by no means an unbiased piece of filmmaking but it is a very human tale, told with wit and passion.
All This Mayhem is available on DVD from 27th October and on digital platforms now.