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A Unique and Visually Stunning Look at Switchfoot
on December 10, 2013
Fading West is a unique, visually stunning, and intimate look at Switchfoot on their 2012 World Tour. The basic premise of the movie is to give a glimpse of the inspiration, development, and creation of their 9th studio album, Fading West, slated to release in January 2014. Switchfoot said about their upcoming album: "We have never worked so hard on a project, nor traveled so far for inspiration, than we did to create this record. These songs are full of heart, hope, sweat, and saltwater." This movie does an excellent job capturing that inspiration and creation while simultaneously capturing the personal and touring lives of the band.
This movie is part rock documentary, part surf film, and part travelogue. We experience the band traveling to some of the most beautiful places of the world: Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and Bali, searching for waves to ride and inspiration for their album. There is a ton of spectacular footage of the stunning environments that they find themselves in. On the technical side, everything is top notch. Chad Butler, Switchfoot's drummer, did an excellent job producing the movie. The video is crystal clear without any special effects. The style of video is both professional and still intimate. The audio is layered perfectly between dialogue, the soundtrack, and various environmental sounds.
The movie has an overall positive tone that is often fueled with jokes and comedic moments. Jon, Tim, Drew, Chad, and Jerome all radiate a tangible hope and joy with each other and with the people that they interact with. The only time the movie is takes a more somber tone was when the band was in Australia, Jon Foreman learned his daughter had to undergo emergency surgery. He and the band have a very emotional moment before he takes a 30 hour trip back to the states to be there with his family. His daughter's surgery turned out fine and after spending a little time with his family he headed out to New Zealand to meet up with the band. This experience gives us viewers a glimpse of the sacrifices that are made out on the road and will definitely tug on your heartstrings.
The soundtrack for the movie is the music for the new album (oftentimes just the instrumental parts). It has an alternative pop sound and it's definitely a new direction for Switchfoot. The songs off their Fading West EP are featured, and they are a good representation of the songs in the film. The music fits well with the film and makes me excited for the new album. I've also heard from another source that the new songs are often played over footage from where it was they had been visiting when the song was written.
A few things to note:
-If you are hoping for a live concert, you will be disappointed as there isn't one single full length live song on this 80 minute movie.
-This movie is squeaky clean, however, there is one bleeped out word during an interview with Blink 182's lead singer, and the band is often on the beach where there are sometimes women in bikini's. My instinct would be to give it a PG rating.
-Personal faith is woven throughout the film, however it is never preachy or overbearing.
-If you are hoping to learn about the history of the band, you will not learn much. This film is all about where they are and where they are going.
This movie gave me a deeper appreciation for Switchfoot. They make many sacrifices to bring hope and joy to people across the globe. If you are a Switchfoot fan, you should definitely rent or buy this movie. If you just stumbled onto this film, if you pick this up you will quickly become a Switchfoot fan.