The “greatest shark fisherman in the world”, Rene De Dios is discussed as well as the shark fishing culture of South Beach Miami in the 1970s and after.
Directed by Robert Requejo Ramos who co-wrote with Pedro Gomez, this documentary is one that done with passion for the subject and a deep respect for him. Also, it’s a documentary that is made for a very specific audience in mind as it has a subject that is not universal in terms of reach, but the passion displayed in the filmmaker and the passion of the subject for shark fishing is something that viewers can easily connect with. The way the film explores its subject here is well done, with a few sequences of animals being killed so viewer beware. The film has most of the film is bloodless and all about interviews and archival footage. The mix of the two is quite balanced and brings interest in the viewing of the film. The interviews are definitely better filmed than the archival footage, but that is to be expected given the age of that footage and its sources.
In terms of the new interviews, the cinematography allows the interviewees to be the center of attention in their moments, giving them center stage, and leading to them being important in the film by giving them the space they need. Of course, this is done with the editing which allows them to have the time they need to speak openly and without feeling like they are being coached into saying what the filmmaker wants them to. Here it’s clear that they are speaking from the heart and giving information they know quite well. Overall, between the cinematography and the editing, the film looks great and has a style that works for this type of storytelling. As for the archival footage, it’s well integrated with proper editing and the right sense of timing as to where to put it.
South Beach Shark Club: Legends and Lore of the South Florida Shark Hunters may be a documentary of limited appeal, it is also one that is quite well made with solid cinematography and a definite love for the subject and for filmmaking. The way it integrates interviews with archival footage makes for an interesting watch even if shark fishing is not one’s cup of tea. The film works and it’s a fairly easy watch once the dead sharks aren’t on screen anymore.