From the Dec. 28 Oregonian....
"Steep" is a surprisingly fatalistic, way-above-average ski documentary that lays out a 35-year history of the "extreme" end of the sport. Writer/director Mark Obenhaus interviews the madmen and -women who started climbing (or helicoptering to the top of) remote peaks in Wyoming, Alaska and France so they could ski down virgin cliff faces at 50-degree angles.
The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous -- not a huge surprise, really, given the subject. But what really distinguishes it from the average ski doc (which is, let's face it, often as not a stunt and product showcase) is its clear-eyed sense of history and the way it slowly paints a portrait of collective obsession.
Most of the interviewees have lost friends in extreme-skiing accidents, and at least one interviewee will be dead by film's end. But they still calmly discuss the "creative rationalization" that keeps them coming back to push the sport's limits -- until we've moved from Bill Briggs' lonely assault on the Grand Teton in 1971 to today's less-articulate lunatics, who incorporate base-jumping chutes and aerial flips into their pursuit of a "perfect moment," in an environment where "the mountains always have the last say."
B; 92 minutes; rated PG for extreme sports action and brief language.
'Steep' (The Oregonian, Dec. 28, 2007)