The Ice King DVD

Ice skating in the early 1970s was not only a battle ground between east and west, it was also a battle between an older form of the subject and a newer interpretation. Within two years it moved from a series of dry, staid movements and process, to an art form. John Curry was one of the catalyst for this. Starting out in an age where skating was little more than twirling on ice, Curry skated into regional championships. Passing into European competitions and finally achieving success at the Olympic games.

James Erskine has made a habit of documenting sporting heroes. From Sachin Tendulkar (Sachin : A Billion Dreams) to Billie Jean King (Battle of the Sexes). With Ice King we journey through Ice skating master John Curry life. Polarising in terms of technique then, now seen as the pioneer of a new form. Erskine film honestly fails in translating this. I am not sure who is to really blame for this?  Curry is removed from his time, talent and skill at the start of the documentary. Though we connect to him with personal letters and interviews, we seem to avoid intimate details and the immense amount of work he put into his craft.

As it traverses the final period, Curry becomes far more human and his work becomes far more substantial. His illness, his confident stance and pride in love all cement his actions. As he died, it became a bold statement for the cause and the movement. These transform a film that is mostly a series of profuse love in commentaries. I am not saying that Curry did not deserve this but painting someone as a saint is dangerous. It also cheapens what he did and what it achieved. Making its end slightly unbalanced. The documentary is no masterpiece but it goes into becoming insipid.

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