Going into Rize I really had no interest in the art of krumping. The sole reason I watched this film is for it's director David LaChapelle, who is my favorite photographer. His style wasn't very apparent in this film, it has a the same DV look that most of today's documentaries share. There is one scene, where he took a few of the dancers down to the L.A. river and set up his lights, that made it look a little more like his photographic style; but that's obviously not what he was going for with this film, he wanted to tell these kids story.
Despite not being into this high energy dancing at the beginning, I really began to appreciate the skill that goes into this crazy dance form. I'm sure I'd have a headache or throw out my back about 30 seconds into trying it for myself. But even more than appreciating their skills, I was glad to see this as an alternative for kids growing up in very tough situations, where gang life is an easy choice. I'm glad that there are people out there like Tommy the Clown, that dedicate their lives to helping kids and making their neighborhoods a better place to live. The world needs more people like this.
That said, I didn't think there was enough material here for a feature documentary; it could have been an amazing short, but wouldn't have got the same exposure. It's kind of a catch-22. I felt like the film kept telling the same story over and over. And they filled the other half with dancing footage. I liked seeing the history of the dance, meeting some of the main people involved, and I thought that it was interesting when they cut the footage against some traditional tribe dancing from Africa. But there was really only about 30 minutes of story, stretched into over 90.
If you're into krumping, I'm sure you've already seen Rize, and I'm glad that there is a film representing this new movement. But as an outsider, I began to get bored. If you're an outsider like me, and you can catch the first 30 minutes on cable somewhere, it's worth seeing that much of it, after that not much else is developed. It was interesting to see LaChapelle's work behind a movie camera, he shows some promise with this film, I'll be interested in seeing whatever he comes up with next.