VERYONE NEEDS a leader," Brewce Martin says, "from Genghis Khan to Jim Jones."
While no one would call those leaders great, they influence Martin, for better or worse, as the "dictator" of Skatopia, an 88-acre skate park in Rutland, Ohio, and the subject of an eponymous documentary, directed by Laurie House, that chronicles a year in the life of the park.
Martin runs Skatopia like a commune. If you're willing to work, you've got a place to live or skate. He lives life by an outsider credo, but it's not all free love at Skatopia. If housekeeping tasks aren't completed or if someone threatens Martin's utter dominance as leader, he freaks. He has anger issues, even spending a good chunk of the documentary in prison for assaulting the ex-boyfriend of a woman he was involved with.
Martin's two-month jail stint kills the momentum of the documentary, but there's little narrative to speak of, or at least not enough of one to justify its 94-minute running time.
There are some issues at play that are touched upon but never fully discussed. The only neighbors of Skatopia we hear from are pro-park, but only because of their business relationships. Money issues are hinted at but there's no indication of how the park makes money or sustains itself other than by selling shoes and T-shirts. There are only so many scenes I want to watch of other people partying and destroying stuff.