Tony Vainuku & Erika Cohn's In Football We Trust is an in-depth documentary which chronicles the lives of four young Polynesian men, each of which dreams of playing Football in the NFL. Offering a snapshot of the Pacific Islander pipeline in the NFL, In Football We Trust is an intimate and engrossing American immigrant story which uses an observant eye to document the pressure these young men have to provide and support their family. Growing up in an area where gang violence and poverty cripple many families, Football is viewed as a form of salvation by many Pacific Islanders, a potential way out of the tough life they live. As one of the the fathers states in the film, "football isn't a way out but a way up", and one of the greatest attributes this film has is its ability to capture the unbelievable weight that is put on the shoulders of these teenage boys, each of which carries the burden of being relied on to make a living and provide for their families through football. While watching this film, the pressure these kids have is palpable, coming not only from their own families but also the community around them which expects so much from them on the football field. While all four characters the film document struggle with a lot of the same challenges, each individual does bring their own unique challenges as well, with the film doing a wonderful job of being an honest, unbiased observer to the plight of these characters, never really showing a biased or truly showing an opinion of the plight of these characters, only being interested in telling their story. For some of the characters Football offers a release, something to focus on outside of the gang violence and poverty which surrounds them, while other members of the documentary seem to use football more as a form of controlled violence. From a filmmaking perspective, In Football We Trust is a pretty straightforward documentary but that doesn't mean it isn't compelling, as the film manages to show a lot of heart, examining these young men who have a monumental amount of pressure to succeed. Compelling, observant, and in-depth, In Football We Trust chronicles the maturation of four young men from high school football to the high stakes world of college recruitment, capturing the effect which societal expectations can have on young men.
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