Wild in the Streets (2013)
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A Riot? Too Tame! This is Shrovetide!
Favorite Movie Quote: "If my son told me he was gay, I'd still love him; if he said he was a Down'ard, I'd tell him to leave my home."
The scene is the sleepy town of Ashbourne in Derbyshire, England. It is a close-knit town, with generations-old family businesses, and deep religious roots. There is apparently no major crime, no political intrigue, and, in short, an idyllic, "Stepford-like" town. For three hundred and sixty-three days, it is a town of peace and harmony.
However, every Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, all hell breaks loose and this sleepy town turns into a war zone; three thousand men, women, and children battle fiercely, tooth and nail, for the privilege of tapping a four-pound ball on a wall.
Insanity? No. Welcome to Shrovetide.
WILD in the STREETS, is a documentary chronicling a centuries-old tradition, that was the predecessor to rugby, soccer, and American football. Sean Bean narrates the three months preceding their annual tradition.
The rules of Shrovetide are simple: the town is physically separated by Henmore Brook into the Up'ards, those north of the brook, and the Down'ards. The game starts in Shaw Croft, the center of town. The two teams are broken up into the "Huggers" and the "Runners" (self explanatory). The object of the game is to get the ball by any means necessary and take it to Sturston in the north, or Clifton, in the South. Other from physically killing someone, there are no other rules. No uniforms, no protection, no colors, no age, or sex restrictions, if you want to play, you can play.
What this reviewer took away from this documentary is that Shrovetide is both only just a game, but the heartbeat of their community. Except for their two days of carnage, and there are no other words to describe it, the townspeople are very friendly towards each other, with a bit of friendly rivalry between the two factions. But for the two days of Shrovetide, the Up'ards and the Down'ards do anything and everything to tap their walls, which are on opposite sides of the town. You can actually feel the pride from the townsfolk as they tell their stories, how they got caught up into the game, and how much it means to both them and the town of Ashbourne. There is no national coverage, no sports endorsements, no high-paid superstars; just a town with a tradition as deeply rooted in their culture as the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, or America's own Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. They do it because that's what they've always done. And after Shrovetide, they go back to their simple, quiet ways, no grudges held, no revenge sought, save, "Wait 'till next year."
On my personal rating scale of with "5" being drop everything and see the movie now; if you're female, bear the producers' children and "0" being burn down the theater, murder the movie staff, and violate their dog, this movie earns a "4," using my patented Bell Curve for Documentaries. WILD in the STREETS is a study in true dichotomy: a quiet, friendly town that turns into a war zone, then back to quiet and friendly in the blink of an eye.
It is unrated, has mild objectionable language, lots of sports-level violence, and of course, no sex or nudity. Those who feel soccer is not violent enough, or need your football fix, take a look at football's great-great-granddaddy, where pansies don't protect themselves in helmets and padding, and don't whine when the multimillion dollar endorsement are less than they expected. Watch and see how the game is played by people who play the game for the sheer joy of it, and compensated only by claiming bragging rights.
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