Katie McGowan 22/02/2005
MTV, malls and the deathly road of thrash and grunge music bore America's youth numb to the kidneys. Physical Graffiti is a DVD, which shows us what extremes people are now going to, in order to get an adrenaline buzz.
**Warning** this video is NOT for the squeamish. If your idea of a good time involves doing skateboard stunts on the streets or piercing your balls with rusted nails then this is the DVD definitely for you! Featuring, extreme sports, tattoos, piercings, self-surgery, metal implants and people suspended from hooks attached to their skin, the Physical Graffiti DVD provides a small insight into the lives of America's young thrill seekers.
The main focus of the film is unusual body-modifications. The DVD also explores the crazy lifestyles some of America's youth lead featuring plenty of footage from sports such as surfing, skateboarding, base-jumping, snowboarding and motorcycle stunts. For those who like a bit of a chuckle, it also features some of the accidents that can occur. If you thought the extreme lifestyle began when 'Jackass' and Tony Hawk hit the screens - think again.
Physical Graffiti opens with skating and snowboarding action and takes a look into the ways people express their individuality through new tricks and tattoos. The DVD idolises each interviewee as a hero, who has finally achieved true freedom as they've separated themselves from the masses with their extreme lifestyle. It moves on to look at surfers and how one youth had lost a surfing competition simply because of his alternative lifestyle and appearance and not his surfing skills. The stunts in some of the video clips are absolutely amazing; they show the lengths people will go for mere seconds of Nirvana.
From here Physical Graffiti takes a look at base-jumping, somersaults off buildings and motor sports clips that will make you say wow. Shortly after this, the DVD features the accidents, which can occur. There are nasty gashes and broken limbs a plenty but never fear - there's always self-surgery. Somebody asks a friend to stitch up their wounds for them; after all it will save on hospital and insurance bills. This part of the DVD really made me cringe. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! Just as I was ready to puke, more clips from dirtbikes are shown. Jumps over sand dunes at 90miles an hour followed by a 'Piss Break'.
What?!? I wondered too. The DVD gives a short clip of a person dressed in a clown suit biking around a supermarket, the ideal time to go to the toilet if you needed it. Soon after, the ball rolls again and the focus of body-modification becomes much more apparent. If you continue watching the DVD you see ALL KINDS of piercing (yes this video was an 18+ for a good reason) and boy I found myself cringing and closing my eyes. Yuk! It doesn't stop there, one guy is crazy enough to let people pierce his ball sac with hammer and nail (yowch!) whilst others allow metal bolts to be inserted under their skin for the pain rush and the alternative look.
The DVD draws to a close with a group of people who hang around on the porch - literally. These youths insert hooks into their skin and hang for as long as they can physically stand from the roof. The longer they hang and the more hooks they have inserted, the better. I was mortified as I watched their skin stretch. A few more extreme clips and the film was over.
Overall I enjoyed the majority of what I saw. Physical Graffiti provides the opportunity for those unfamiliar with the extreme lifestyle to see what's out there to explore. There's a great soundtrack featuring music from Olive, Tricky and Massive Attack. It provides comedy moments and awesome stunts which will please any Jackass/Dirty Sanchez fan. The only let down in the DVD is that much of the sports footage was taken as home videos and so isn't always the best quality. It is also quite a short film (42 mins) and due to the rise in extreme sports channels on Sky TV much of the footage won't appear as impressive to the die-hard sports extremists out there.
Physical Graffiti came with a few extras, a postcard and an interactive slideshow featuring images taken from the movie. The DVD is certainly worth buying but probably won't become a household favourite.