SXSW FILM FESTIVAL
SXSW Review: Second Skin
by Alex Billington
March 8, 2008
When it comes to documentaries, it takes a lot to impress me. Thankfully Second Skin surpassed all of my expectations and earned a spot on my list of favorite docs, which is incredibly rare. The film is about the "second life" of MMORPG players like in World of Warcraft. Where it succeeds is in its informative style, solid structure, and well-chosen stories. There are millions of gamers out there, but the filmmakers behind Second Skin happened to come across the best few stories that they could ever tell.
Second Skin is like a modern-day King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, but let me explain what I mean by that. King of Kong was a fantastic documentary that captured the experiences of these arcade gamers perfectly, and achieved an objective of portraying how the lives of these gamers have progressed. Second Skin is somewhat the same - while not similar in its one-against-the-other story, it tells the passionate and emotional stories of MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) players expertly and achieves the objective of faithfully relaying this life to those who are unfamiliar with it. In essence, it's as good as King of Kong, but about modern day video games instead of the arcade games of past.
Second Skin is a documentary that certainly felt like the filmmakers knew what they're doing, which is a big compliment at SXSW. Not that they wouldn't know, but it's a shame this movie hasn't earned more acclaim because it was both crafted and structured very well. The right information is given at the right time, and the stories are intertwined and edited to progress without a snag. Whether you're a gamer or not, Second Skin is a documentary that everyone can both enjoy and be informed by. I just hope that a studio picks this up and gives it the love it needs to hit the mainstream market.