Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation : There aren’t too many documentaries that should be proud that their lacrosse footage is their best asset, however Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation is probably the rare exception. The film, directed by Peter Spirer and Peter Baxter, follows a Native American tribe called the Iroquois (located mostly in upstate New York) who love the sport of lacrosse so much that they think that they should be their own nation at the international tournaments.
Story. Don’t see this film thinking that it is a sports film, although it does have some sports action. The film is mostly one-sided political talking heads about why the Iroquois are superior to others, which I don’t have a problem with if that’s your opinion. Where my problem starts is when the film never challenges the subjects they are following. I respect documentaries so much more when they convince me of an opinion, instead of assuming I agree with them from the beginning. The story itself is rather uninteresting, people playing lacrosse, not a big deal to me. If the filmmakers think it is an important issue, they should have portrayed the importance better.
Filmmaking. I will give credit to Spirer and Baxter for the lacrosse action that they shot. It is engaging and pushes the narrative throughout the film. They also edited the film quite well, in my opinion. There were not many long, awkward scenes that you sometimes see in documentaries like these. There are a few subplots that the story goes towards that never amounts to anything and that would be a mistake in filmmaking, however, for the most part, I think Spirer and Baxter did a good job of using the footage that they were given to work with. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that original kernel of an idea wasn’t interesting enough to make a film out of and this should have been left alone.
This is nothing but a political narrative wrapped in a sports film.
Related: What's the story behind Spirit Game?
Check out our interview with Spirit Game’s Directors Peter Spirer and Peter Baxter
for behind the scenes information on the film's production.
Watch Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation on iTunes