24 February 2016 | l_rawjalaurence
One-Note Documentary That Soon Outstays its Welcome
There have been many boxing movies produced ever since the silent era that have proved entertaining as well as instructive: KID GALAHAD, THE HARDER THEY FALL, ROCKY, and RAGING BULL. Danny Leigh seeks to account for their popularity in this documentary with the help of several actors, technicians and academics.
One reason for their success is that they are relatively easy to film. Within a restricted area the two pugilists endure a variety of emotions as well as pain, while the managers, trainers, gangsters and other hangers-on try to advise them as how the fighters should win (or lose). Fights can often function as center-pieces within a drama, as well as providing plenty of material for drama, especially focused on the relationship between good and evil.
To be honest, that's about it. While the documentary included testimony from academics such as Sarah Churchwell (from the University of East Anglia) about gender relationships, disruption and boxing matches, such comments seemed vaguely peripheral to the issue. Likewise any references to man's tendencies towards brute forced seemed generalized and unrepresentative (there are legions of men who harbor no such instincts).
The documentary offered plenty of clips to illustrate its points, but nonetheless still seemed too long and repetitive in content. There was sufficient material here for a half-hour program, but stretched out to a one-hour length, the content seemed desperately thin.