The documentary "McConkey" chronicles the life of Shane McConkey, professional skier turned base-jumper who eventually combined both passions. Raised by his mother, McConkey aspired as a child to follow in his absent father's footsteps and become a speed skier. Starved for attention, he was an anarchist during his school years. Unable to make the U.S. ski team, he discovered extreme skiing through the 1988 documentary "The Blizzard of Aahhh's" and sought to attempt the skiing and parachuting stunt from "The Spy Who Loved Me."
McConkey would tempt fate in a few ski documentaries himself. In addition to excerpts from those, extensive home movies help provide the complete story. Witnessing him defy long odds, gravity and death is a thrill; even the uninitiated should find his unresolved father complex of interest.
The revelation of McConkey's death at 39 comes late, but it isn't much of a surprise given the curious paucity of interviews with him. It does make the film seem for the most part like corporate propaganda from his sponsor, Red Bull. Evidently, the energy drink did indeed give him wings. Only at the end does it become apparent that this Red Bull Media House release is a eulogy from his patron.
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 49 minutes
Playing: At Landmark Regent Theatre, Westwood. Also on VOD.