Reviewer’s grade: B
“Hell on Wheels” is an ambitious documentary about the an Austin all-female roller derby league, its inception, initial successes and the inevitable growing pains associated with large-scale group activity.
Scores of women sign up to skate, but the original organizer loses the money and the league is turned over to the female skaters to run. Power is soon consolidated to the four most senior league members, who organize the teams, set up training and manage the show. Things go well for a while, but as soon as the planning and training stages are over, the teams have their first bout and realize how much money is to be made. Any notions of utopian grrrl power are abandoned and the league’s worker/management solidarity goes south in a hurry.
“Hell on Wheels” screens at 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, with director Ray in attendance for a Q-and-A. NR