'Zombie: The Resurrection of Tim Zom': Helsinki Review

Courtesy of Helsinki International Film Festival
An engaging (if spotty) character study with plenty of good skate-trick footage

A troubled Dutch skateboarder tries to get his life together

Lanky and trailing long blond hair behind him as he flies down embankments on his skateboard, Tim Zom cuts a charismatic figure in Billy PolsZombie: The Resurrection of Tim Zom. He'd be a prototypical California street kid if he weren't Dutch, and this look at a pro-skating career interrupted by run-ins with the law will have to overcome the subtitle barrier in attempting to reach English-speaking fans of skate culture.

Pols both over- and underplays the drama here, breezing past some of Zom's misdeeds (we hear plenty about his temper and fights, but skip the details of time he's spent in jail) while promising a more dramatic narrative than he actually has to offer: Throughout the doc, interviewees make references to Zom's father that the film handles as if they foreshadow something very dark. Could it be that the boy went to jail for killing him in a fight? In fact, he stayed with his father as he died of throat cancer.

Pols and his cinematographers offer stylishly moody scenes of Zom cruising nighttime streets alone; these complement ample DIY footage in which Zom's friends shoot his most femur-threatening antics. (In between, he fights with residents of apartment buildings who don't want kids careening down their stairway handrails.)

As we know from the start, Zom has for the moment conquered his demons, signing major sponsorship deals after winning the "best trick" prize at a Rotterdam Grand Prix. He also found love, and in the final scenes we meet the unlikely girlfriend who, if Pols' optimism is justified, may have saved the angry young man's life.

Production company: Hazazah Pictures
Director-Screenwriter: Billy Pols
Producers: Maarten Kuit, Jeroen van den Idsert
Directors of photography: Aage Hollander, Gabor Deak
Editor: Govert Janse
Music: Erik-Jan Grob

No rating, 70 minutes