The sun is just starting to set and its rays are painting golden streaks on the ocean’s rippling waves. Soft warm sand caresses your toes. Children’s laughter mingles with the soft calling of the seagulls. The beach is almost deserted. This is your time, your perfect time for catching some surf and clearing your head. It’s your escape. You get the picture… Inspiring stuff, ey? That’s exactly what Universal’s film The Search for Freedom sets out to do — fill you with inspiration to do the things you love.
According to the film’s descriptive blurb, The Search for Freedom is “the story of a cultural revolution fueled by the human desire to live in the moment and do what makes you feel the most alive.” So what does that look like in a movie? The answer… Beautiful.
The film is basically a set of interviews with a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts, interspersed with absolutely stunning cinematography. Now ‘wide range’ is somewhat of an understatement. Hit list of who’s who across a plethora of outdoor sports is closer to the mark. The people featured in this film range from influential characters who revolutionised the sport to world champions and even includes the young people on the scene who are headed for future stardom.
So why do I call a bunch of interviews cut together beautiful? It’s because of the video footage it’s paired with. This film is an hour and a half of incredibly inspiring scenes. Elite athletes at their best, historical footage of pioneers (naturally with campervans), young people doing awe-inspiring things — things I can see myself doing one day. All this and more. And it’s all done to a really professional standard rarely seen on YouTube.
The other great feature is the soundtrack. The song choice is chillingly beautiful and adds a real emotional depth to the film. The combination makes for a truly emotive film which leaves you with a desire to grab your surfboard, climbing shoes, or whatever you have to hand, and go enjoy that big gorgeous world out there.
If I’m being honest though, this rose does have some thorns. Yes it’s utterly stunning, but I did find the story it told a bit weak. You get glimpses into the lives and experiences of many inspiring individuals, but that’s all they are — glimpses. Personally I was left wanting to know so much more. It felt like trying to learn about someone through tweets. Then there are the countless quotes like “face your fears, live your dreams”. It just started to feel a bit like I was in a gift shop. You know where they have 4,000 hearts all cut out of wood and plastered in phrases like “Keep calm and carry on…”. It just started to feel a little clichéd. I also would have loved to see a few more women featured.
So would I recommend you watch this film? Yes. You see, the very next day I was out on a surfboard, and shortly after that I arranged a canoe trip down the River Wye. The fact that the story of freedom isn’t really that good, doesn’t actually matter, because this film speaks to your emotions and leaves you inspired to get outside. Just watch the trailer and you’ll see what I mean. The trailer is just like the film — enjoyable, inspiring, motivational. But can you actually recall any of the voiceover?
In summary, if you want to learn about the sports featured, then this film isn’t for you. However, if you want inspiration to get off the sofa and out into the wild, then watch this film and see where it leads you.
All photography courtesy of Universal Pictures