This film has already premiered in the U.K. but will be released on April 21st in the U.S.
Synopsis: Amongst the 2011 London riots, a former boxer needs must choose between his past or a new future. (IMDB)
Starring: Adam J. Bernard, Phoebe Torrance, and Santino Zicchi
Writer: Marcus Flemmings
Director: Marcus Flemmings
Running Time: 57mins
The first thing that stands out is that this is a short film (the shortest film I’ve ever reviewed on this site), clocking in at just under an hour and with that comes sacrifices. The film was about a boxer named Stally (Bernard) who has moved on with his former life of near poverty and crime and was now living with his girlfriend Andrea (Torrance), or at least that’s what he thought. He had long since been removed from his boxing career and his undefeated record but he was pulled back in when his friend Chris (Zicchi) got himself in trouble with the local gangster.
Boxing was all he ever knew and Andrea was unsure if this new life was what he really wanted. To help Chris, another boxer, he had to fight him and lose. This was not easy for him since as well as having to choose whether or not to sacrifice his unbeaten record that meant everything to him. He had to choose if boxing was what he really wanted and perhaps lose Andrea in the process. This put Stally at a crossroads where he had to choose between his former life and his new one.
The film would cut between this final fight with the leadup to it, dividing the story into 6 chapters or rounds. It was also shot in black and white which added some emotional impact to scenes and highlighted the grittiness of Stally’s world while emphasizing his own inner struggle. With the story taking place during the 2011 London riots, the film felt grounded and the world was clearly established, touching issues like racism and inequality. While Stally’s emotional journey was compelling, the rest of the story didn’t quite fit together as well as it could have. He was the most developed character in a group of underdeveloped characters but there’s only so much that can be done within the running time.
The best part of the film was Bernard’s nuanced performance. He carried the story as the film’s emotional centre, showing considerable range in depicting Stally’s inner struggle, relying mostly on facial expressions and body language to convey his pain. It was a little too unfocused which took away from its impact. All of the supporting performances were okay but that was because the writing and direction in choosing to focus on Stally. That was probably the right decision. The ambiguous ending may not be for everyone.
Overall, this was a emotional, ambitious, well-shot, drama with an uneven story, redeemed by the powerhouse performance of its lead, Andrew J Bernard.
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