Review: A Fine Line

posted by dpm on 10/04/2011


I watched “A Fine Line” about two months ago.  I was immediately amped up to write a review but knew that promoting a video that was still months away from release might just be frustrating to readers.  It’s since been pulled off of Vimeo where I was able to stealthily access it via secret password so I’m left to write a review based on my lasting impression which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Andrew Kornylak and Josh Fowler were able to accomplish what many have tried before but not fully succeeded in doing.  They captured the bouldering lifestyle.  You might think this is an easy task but I challenge you to take your camera on a trip and truly capture the feeling.  You’ll likely end up with a montage of your friends goofing off, temper tantrums and sends that are few are far between.  Andrew and Josh pulled through with their vision for this film.

On the Warpath in Idaho.

They started off by selecting a crew of some of the strongest boulderers in America today.  It’s an all-star line-up including Daniel Woods, David Graham, Jimmy Webb, and Brion Voges.  Kornylak follows his crew through the seasons as they travel across America in search of the best rock, new problems, and hardest test-pieces. 

There is plenty of footage of the stunning sandstone bouldering found throughout the South East as well as the alpine bouldering fields of Colorado that boulderers turn to during the summer heat.  The highlight of the film is the journey to Idaho for an attempt on James Litz’s then unrepeated Warpath (V14).  Like any trip the team encounters hardships in their quest that, in this case, comes in the form of some ridiculously unpleasant weather conditions.  It’s no secret that Daniel Woods was able to come away with the second ascent but Jimmy Webb’s near ascent is just as inspiring. 

Jimmy Webb on Warpath (V14)

The film is narrated by life-long Colorado boulderer, artist, and climbing-life pontificator, Peter Beal.  Peter brings his unmistakable introspection and manages to vocalize what so many of us feel but cannot put into words. 

The traditional upbeat hip-hop soundtrack is replaced by mellow and relaxing indie rock guitar riffs that are soothing and provide a different kind of psych for the sport.  As it’s stated in the movie, “Most of the time the most beautiful walls are completely blank.  It’s a fine line between that and finding gold.”  In creating this movie Kornylak and Fowler walked the line between making a film that falls flat, failing to convey a point, and one that strikes a chord in all of us.  They came out on top in producing a visual meditation on the bouldering life.

Brion Voges finds a hidden gem in the Southeast.

The movie will be available on   on Oct 6th. The movie premiere is Oct. 6th in Atlanta if you can make it.        

Click the image to view the trailer for "A Fine Line."