Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey Movie Review
Fred Beckey is a dirtbag, apparently. I don’t know what that means, but the documentary Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey, certainly paints the offbeat, Seattle-based mountain climber as a man who gives zero fucks about anything. He probably gives zero fucks about his own documentary, but you should, because it’s an interesting look at a man who, in the world of mountain climbing, has accomplished so much and gotten little praise for it—at least in the mainstream.
The mountain climbers who find notoriety, fame or fortune are often chiseled, dashing men, clearly a bit crazy given what they enjoy doing but are also seen as leaders, daring but intelligent.
Fred Beckey, with a wild mane of hair and a reputation for doing whatever he wants—motivated not by money or fame but simply because he is addicted to climbing mountains—is neither chiseled nor dashing, and probably crazier than most.
In other words, he’s the terrific subject for a documentary.
Filmmaker Dave O’Leske does an excellent job of capturing what makes Beckey tick and highlighting his accomplishments. Beckey’s life story is pretty amazing, and O’Leske explores it in detail, approaching it from a variety of angles—from climbing partners to former lovers. The final product is a fascinating and entertaining exploration of both the man and his deeds.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.