Through the Fire: Director’s Cut – Extended And Uncensored

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Sebastian Telfair as Himself
Jay-Z as Himself
Derek Jeter as Himself
Spike Lee as Himself
Dwayne Tiny Morton as Himself
Rick Pitino as Himself
Jamel Thomas as Himself
Daniel Turner as Himself

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes

Extended Interviews with Sebastian Telfair, Rick Pitino and Other Key Figures

Exclusive Telfair NYC Playground and Game Highlights

Q&A Footage From the Tribeca Film Festival

Director’s Commentary

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 103 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following text is from the DVD cover:

“What is it like to be a high school senior on the verge of going pro? Experience a riveting documentary that chronicles the riches-or-ruin gambles of one of basketball’s fastest rising stars. Since the age of nine, Sebastian Telfair has been a legend on the streets of New York. Under the watchful eye of his older brother, a former collegiate star whose failed bid to reach the NBA left their mother heartbroken and the family mired in poverty, Sebastian refines his game, hones his image, and risks everything in the hopes of providing a better life for his family and realizing his dream of playing professional ball. ESPN’s critically acclaimed documentary captures all the action, emotion, and excitement of an amazing year in he life of Coney Island’s hoop prodigy. You won’t want to miss a minute of Sebastian Telfair’s astonishing jump from local neighborhood phenom to first-round draft pick.”

Through the Fire: Director’s Cut – Extended And Uncensored is not rated.

Mini-Review:
Through the Fire should be of great interest to anyone that’s into basketball. The film is unique in that it follows Sebastian Telfair, a high school superstar, as he decides whether or not to go to college or straight into the NBA draft. The documentary follows him for a year or more as his career starts to snowball and he’s wooed by numerous sponsors. It’s rare to see a documentary follow a story so extensively, yet Through the Fire does it.

I was really struck by the decision Telfair had to make in the film. Does he take the traditional route of being seasoned in college basketball first or does he jump right into the deep end with the NBA? On the one hand, the documentary does a good job making you understand why he’d want to go into the NBA. He lives in a very poor part of Coney Island. He wants to provide for his mother and family. His brother tried and failed to get into the NBA, so he realized how quickly the dream can be snatched away. So it’s very easy to see why he’d want to do this.

However, the documentary is equally good at showing how it could be a bad decision. While training with his older brother in Greece, he’s knocked around and shown he doesn’t know how to play professionally yet. Telfair also starts raking in money from endorsements. Rather than investing it and making wise financial decisions, he starts buying Rolexes, expensive cars for his family, and other extravagant purchases. You quickly realize he may not be mature enough to handle the responsibility.

Overall, Through the Fire is an excellent and timely sports documentary. You certainly get a peek at the drama behind the scenes of the NBA Draft. It also stands out as a great documentary depicting urban life and the trials facing people living there. Basketball fans will definitely want to check this out.

There’s a very good selection of bonus features here. There are deleted scenes, extended interviews from the people shown in the film, and more footage of Telfair’s high school basketball games. You’ll also find Q&A Footage From the Tribeca Film Festival and your standard Director’s Commentary.

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