For the first time since the sport has been played around the world, the World Box Lacrosse Championships were held on an Indian Reservation. Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation explores the road to these championships, the sport’s history, and what it means to the Indian nations.
Directors Peter Spirer and Peter Baxter take the subject and explore its roots, why it matters so much for the people who created it, and why they have fought so hard to get the championships on their reservation with full nation respect from the visiting teams. Other people involved in the sports discuss it and the championships themselves. The filmmakers use interviews with an array of people from players, to tribe members, and a variety of others. These interviews show different sides in terms of opinions and also teach a lot about the sport and where it came from, where each person talking about its origins see it as coming from. There are a few varying opinions which give the film more depth and shows a care for exploring every angle of its subject, something many documentaries look to want to avoid. Of course, this is all done from one perspective (or two given there are 2 directors), but it shows differing opinions and how these can be reached.
The cast, or the interviewed people, is varied and know their stuff; their talks are interesting and show a depth to their opinions and knowledge. The film gives them the chance to talk, to express themselves. It also doesn’t cut when someone gets uncomfortable or stumbles a bit, showing an unflinching look on each person, whether for better or for worse.
The film is one of those that may seem like it is more meant for Lacrosse fans which it definitely is meant for, but it also has interesting information for people who do not know the sport at all. Going into it knowing almost nothing about Lacrosse, this reviewer actually found this film interesting and informative. It does have parts that may be going a bit overly long or too in depth for the casual viewer, but in general, it’s an interesting movie. The people interviewed are passionate and interesting which sells this film as a good documentary to watch while the information contained shows its thorough research.
Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation is a good, well-crafted documentary that is worth seeing to learn about Lacrosse or if one is really into the sport. It’s one of those films should be interesting to watch for all viewers, but probably will only have a lasting effect on fans of the sport. The film well shot, with interviews, scenes at the championships, and sports scenes. It must be noted that full sections of the film are the game being played with commentators talking which felt like watching a sports channel’s old reruns, something that lost this reviewers interest completely. However, the interviews and the rich history more than made up for that.