IN GOD'S HANDS

Sensuous Travelogue

Content -1
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: April 24, 1998

Starring: Patrick Shane Dorian, Matt
George, Matty Liu, & Shaun
Tomson

Genre: Surfing docudrama

Audience: Older children & adults

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 96 minutes

Distributor: TriStar/Sony Entertainment

Director: Zalman King

Executive Producer: Zalman King, David Saunders &
Alladin Pojhan

Producer: Tom Stern

Writer: Zalman King & Matt George

Address Comments To:

Jeff Blake, President, Domestic Distribution
TriStar Pictures
a Sony Pictures Releasing Company
10202 West Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 280-7700

Content:

(E/H, Pa, L, V, A) An environmentalist/humanist worldview where surfing is everything; 1 obscenity & 4 profanities; man punches man & man drowns; upper male nudity; and, alcohol use.


Summary:

IN GOD'S HANDS is part travelogue, part surfing commercial. The movie follows three surfers on their journey from Madagascar to Hawaii to catch the next big wave. IN GOD'S HANDS provides lush, beautiful photography and interesting locales without the usual outpouring of offensive language and violence which marks most of Hollywood's offerings. However, making surfing your god is idolatry.


Review:

IN GOD'S HANDS chronicles the surfing adventures of three men who live for surfing. Their god is surfing as Shane Daniels (Patrick Shane Dorian) explains when he says: "When I'm in that wave everything makes sense," and after a tragedy, "All I can think about is riding the next big wave."
The men begin in Madagascar where they get into hot water when the oldest surfer, Mickey (Matt George), flirts with the daughter of a tribal king. They miraculously break out of jail with the help of a journalist who provides voiceover (played by Shaun Tomson). The three end up on a boat where a beautiful woman who doesn't speak much English falls in love with Shane while they surf the Seychelle Islands. She follows them to Bali, where the journalist takes them in. In Bali, Keoni (Marty Liu) gets malaria while the other two surf 40-foot waves. Shane decides they must take Keoni back to Hawaii where coincidentally, the next big wave is. You get the idea.
The photography is stunning. Watching world class surfers (the three actors are also world class surfers) ride truly enormous waves is spectacular. There are shades of Warren Miller here, who made his mark by providing stunning vignettes of world class skiing and stringing them together to make a beautifully photographed film every year. This movie was made for teenagers. There is no sex and very little violence. The narrative is weak, but then many children will be captivated by the very beauty and majesty of man mastering (and then sometimes not) God's creation. The musical score reminds one of a commercial, with far away, ethereal tribal numbers providing listening pleasure while watching the surfing.
Zalman King, the co-writer and director, also directed the erotic 9-1/2 WEEKS, and his penchant for sensuality is seen here in the beauty of both the people and the scenery. Here he attempts to reveal the extreme passion behind such a demanding calling, but the script is weak in revealing human drama and instead focuses on the waves.
The acting is spare because the script was hand carved for these individuals. For example, the main character, Shane, doesn't say much and the same is said to be true for the #2 ranked surfer-turned-actor, Patrick Shane Dorian.
While not a clever drama, IN GOD'S HANDS is a well produced travelogue/surfing docudrama that provides lush, beautiful photography and interesting locales without the usual outpouring of offensive language and violence of most of Hollywood's offerings. However, making surfing your god is idolatry.


In Brief:

IN GOD'S HANDS is part travelogue, part surfing commercial. There isn't much of a story, but the movie follows three surfers on their journey from Madagascar to the Seychelles to Bali to Hawaii to catch the next big wave. Surfing is their god, as Shane Daniels says, "When I'm in that wave everything makes sense" and "All I can think about is riding the next big wave."
While not a moving drama, IN GOD'S HANDS is a well produced surfing documentary that provides lush, beautiful photography and interesting locales without the usual outpouring of offensive language and violence which marks most of Hollywood's offerings. The photography is stunning. Watching world class surfers ride truly enormous waves is spectacular. The narrative is weak, but then many youth will be captivated by the very beauty and majesty of man mastering nature. The musical score reminds one of a commercial. Zalman King, the co-writer and director, attempts to reveal the extreme passion behind such a demanding sport, but the script is weak in revealing human drama and instead focuses on the waves. The acting is spare because the script was hand carved for these surfers. Even so, making surfing your god is idolatry.