Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Sports > Basketball > Through The Fire (Documentary/Basketball)

Through The Fire (Documentary)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: B     Documentary: B



Basketball is as huge as any sport today and tends to have less labor troubles, for whatever reasons.  Though it is not thought of this at the moment, Basketball is in a very important golden age period that is still on the climb and it is one of the great stories of our time that is not being recognized as such.  Fortunately, some fine documentaries on the subject are being produced and following the landmark Hoop Dreams whose significance has still not totally registered is Jonathan Hock’s Through The Fire.


It began as a story about a Coney Island basketball team about to become High school champs for the third year in a row.  Part of the reason for their success besides the usual teamwork and chemistry is a rising star named Sebastian Telfair.  He comes from a big family in a very tough neighborhood and several of his brothers are also basketball fans and serious players.  However, there is something special about basketball and this family.  Older brother Jamal almost made it into the big time, so the idea of success almost being in their grasp is a frustrating reality.


Telfair keeps getting better, but he still does not get the absolute respect he might get otherwise and the issue is more about youth and height than anything else.  More remarkable as the so-called experts trying to figure out his chances for big success and the arrogance of some of the media is remarkable.  It is almost as bad as many film critics!


The wind-up of this project that was on its way to becoming another Hoop Dreams is this almost magical twist of fate where Telfair suddenly becomes front and center, needing to choose between school and the professional NBA leagues.  Many also wondered if any team would even pick him in the draft, but…


Well, unless you are a fan of the sport, you don’t know the conclusion and that should be saved for those who enjoy the suspense.  Through The Fire is a terrific documentary about basketball, choices, character, business and the heart and soul of The American Dream still pumping hard against all odds.  ESPN Home Entertainment released this gem and it could be the start of what ought to be a great run of feature projects.  We can use it!


The letterboxed 1.78 X 1 image is shot on a Mini-DV type of format, with the usual flaws and limits, but it gets the job done and is fine for this type of program thanks to director of photography (electronic/digital) Alastair Christopher’s heart and soul involvement in every moment.  Note it is NOT anamorphically enhanced.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix has few surrounds, but is a good distilling of the basic stereo recorded on the scene throughout.  Besides some Hip Hop/Rap genre music, Duncan Sheik and Pete Miser did the original music.  Extras include director/cinematographer audio commentary, deleted scenes, TriBeCa Film Festival Q&A, highlights of Telfair’s work and extended interviews.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com