Synopsis: A young hockey player deals with the consequences of hockey violence after he critically injures another player during a game.
Title: Hello Destroyer
Director: Kevan Funk
Cinematographer: Benjamin Loeb
Writers: Kevan Funk
Editor: Ajla Odobasic
This was a film I didn’t realize I needed, or wanted, until I heard the premise and saw the film. It’s exactly the kind of film we need more of, instead of the pile of comedy sports movies that are released, and the odd sport biopic, Hello Destroyer shines through that pile as a beautiful, intense, anxious drama about a young, Canadian hockey player.
I wanted to avoid putting a personal touch on this, but I feel It’s necessary. As a Canadian from the maritimes, I grew up surrounded by hockey. Even more so since my older brother played it his whole life, and still does, and played in a pretty similar league that is portrayed here. He lived away from home with another family, much the same as Tyson, the main character in this film. I remember growing up going to his games, and so many times I would question: “why are they fighting, It’s pointless?”, to which I would get the response: “It’s just part of the game.” It terrified me. I grew up witnessing terrible hits, it is such a dangerous sport that I often find hard to watch.
In this film, this violence is portrayed perfectly. Even though (seemingly) accidental, the damage from the hit is immense. The acting in this scene is a highlight of the film, his reaction to the hit is the kind of reaction that is refreshing to see, instead of the excitement that you would see in some hockey comedy, you see the stress that Tyson is in at the thought of seriously harming someone. The visuals of the player laying on the ice is ever so accurate to real hockey, as he lays there injured, a group of other players step all over him as they engage in a fight. It happens often, and it’s a scary sight to see.
The attention to detail in these kinds of scenes by Funk is beautiful. Capturing the game as it is, not as it is glorified to be. The “locker room” scenes, either the rookie initiation, or the coach screaming at them, where beautifully shot. The coach scene particularly stood out to me, the emotion of the players, especially the focus on Tyson, was incredibly captured. You cool feel the tension, and regret, in those players. As an a viewer, you can relate to this feeling, as I’m sure most people who were involved in a competitive sport of some sort have dealt with that at some point.
Although the style of the film, with the very long, still takes, can be off-putting and a bit over used, it does work well in some scenes. I don’t think it was necessary to have it run that way throughout the entire film, as it prolonged some scenes that didn’t need the extra length and the feeling that those takes created. I was sometimes lost with what some of the characters were feeling because of this. I was also thrown off by how Tyson was framed throughout the film, often from the side and rarely from the front. There were a few times throughout that I found it difficult to understand what he was fully feeling when I struggled to see his reactions.
The ending was one of the most powerful endings of a film that I have ever seen. Subtle, but as intense as it could be. I don’t want to go into detail so that I don’t spoil it, but the editing and acting by the parents was amazing.
Hello Destroyer was definitely a memorable film that I would recommend, and I have already to my brother. I think it’s the kind of film we’ve needed, a good hockey film is often hard to come across, and I really hope this inspires a new wave of various sports drama films (a good gymnastics film anyone? please?)