ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: Cutthroat (2013)

Directed by Steven Cantor

The wonderful ESPN 30 for 30 shorts series continues with a jarring story on the horrific injury and road to recovery for Clint Malarchuck, a former NHL goalie whose battles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and ultimately Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his injury, left a hard fought battlefield in his past for the greener pastures of his future. I want to make sure I include a WARNING: this short is NOT for the faint of heart as it does show the graphic television coverage of Malarchuck’s injury. Seeing this footage immediately made me think of the injury to Kevin Ware during the NCAA basketball tournament this year. I saw the replay just once, and once was enough. I never need to see that injury ever again. Such a horrific sight, I unfortunately cannot un-see it; it is there in my memory for all time.

But consider the flipside, the victim of the injury. They cannot un-live it, forced to battle the memory of that moment in their lives, the life-changing experience of having something so terrible happen playing such an innocent game as basketball or hockey. Innocent because they are childhood pasttimes, games played for fun. Malarchuck ran away in recluse retreat to his Reno, NV ranch, attempting to live down his past and his problems. Steven Cantor uses the story of Malarchuck to highlight the need for more people to confront their past so they can live their future, tackle the reality of mental illness head on and treat it. Malarchuck turns it into a public service announcement at the end, which lessens the effectiveness of the short overall, but Cantor certainly brings up some very valid and important issues in just a brief, 11 minute film.

*** – Good

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