Review of Davonte Jolly’s Film “Godspeed”


Graphic by Katey Goins

Katey Goins, Design Editor

Wishing you Godspeed.

Godspeed means to wish someone well on their new journeys and beginnings, which is fitting for Davonte Jolly’s first full length film. 

Jolly’s film follows street skaters, including the skaters of the Illegal Civilization street team. The major components that make this film so memorable is obviously the skating, soundtrack and the cinematography choices. However, the film has a very specific target audience that might drive some people away. 

There is no acting or script in this film, it is raw and real. The film features the skaters of Illegal Civilization, a street skate team that has turned into a skating company and film studio, and a few skaters outside of the team. The film follows these skaters around in their day to day lives highlighting their skating and them being in their element. The film is successful in truly showing the art that is skateboarding and the community it creates.

The film is basically a highlight reel of these skaters lives. It highlights their successes and fails in skating but also shows them living their lives and being youthful with the people that support them the most.  It also shows them creating the lives they want to live at such a young age, with the youngest skater, Sunny Suljic, being only 15 years old. 

That being said, the film also does a really good job of showing how diverse this group of people is all across the board. Every skater featured in this film all come from a different background, are different ages and races and they’re all brought together by their love and passion for skating. Highlighting this community helps to fight the stereotype of skaters being “stoner bums” when in reality they’re the most driven and persistent people that are very good at heart. 

The film doesn’t have a set plot and there is no heavy dialogue, making almost more of a montage type film which is another thing that really sets this film apart from others. Given that the film is pure, raw, and real moments in these people’s lives, unscripted, Jolly had to find other elements to carry the film along and not lose interest in the audience that is normally carried by dialogue and plot. Which is why the soundtrack and cinematography choices were something Jolly relied on. The soundtrack features artists like Frank Ocean, Daniel Caesar, Brent Faiyaz, Rick Ross, Miguel, The Jackson 5 and more. 

The cinematography is one of the most important elements in this film given that Jolly is purely filming skateboarding which is hard to get in the first place. Jolly had to juggle not only getting clear shots of skaters, but getting interesting angles and different lenses, like fish eye lenses, to keep each shot creative and different. The film is heavily dependent on the shots and Jolly made a hard job look effortless. 

Again, since there is no heavy dialogue or real plot other than skaters skating, it might be hard for someone to sit down and watch the film for 58 minutes if skating isn’t really something you like or are only used to the classic type of film that is driven by those elements. But for those who are into skating, good music, and people who only radiate good vibes, this film is a masterpiece.