Enigmatic. Charismatic. 'Bout that action, boss.
There are a number of words that have been used to describe Marshawn Lynch across his football career, with none quite able to capture his essence. Director David Shields hopes attempting to put all those words into one film, Lynch: A History, will be enough to give one of the more captivating athletes of this generation his due.
The film, which premiered June 3 at the Seattle International Film Festival, chronicles Lynch's career from high school superstar in Oakland to the polarizing figure whose national anthem protest created a fervor on news outlets.
Shields describes the viewer's experience, saying, "It shouldn't feel like you're watching TV; it should feel like you're trapped inside HelmetCam during BeastQuake 1.0."
The film features clips from other famous Oakland-based celebrity figures, from Tupac to Bruce Lee to Bill Russell, whose quotes give insight into the environment that helped to form Lynch.
Lynch isn't the only Oakland native to dismantle the agreed-upon narrative. Turns out, it's an Oakland thing.
On the field, Lynch played with a tenacity all his own. From the time he commandeered a cart at Cal to his mowing down Skittles on the sideline in Seattle to his run-through-you-not-past-you running style, his flair for the game was undeniable.
Perhaps the most famous moment of his NFL career, however, was one he didn't get to have.
The Seahawks' decision to pass the ball at the 1-yard line instead of handing the ball off to Lynch at the end of Super Bowl XLIX is considered one of the worst coaching decisions in NFL history. Russell Wilson's pass was picked off by Malcolm Butler, giving the New England Patriots a Super Bowl win while Lynch, the game's most effective short-yardage back, was left to watch with his hands at his side.
What happened in that fateful Super Bowl moment? Asked what's new, Louis Armstrong replied: "Nothin' new. White folks still ahead."
After a brief retirement, Lynch returned in 2017 as a member of the Oakland Raiders. He finished his career with two seasons for his hometown franchise, making headlines for his anthem protest, before retiring again at the end of the 2018 campaign.
Shields says, "In a way, it's as simple as this: a few people are interested in the s--t being real; most people aren't."
Lynch: A History is out now on iTunes and set to be released on Amazon and Vimeo on July 28.