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||IMDB Rating: 7.1/10 from UNRATED votes
||Release: 09 Mar 2011 /
||Director: Frederick Wiseman,
||Stars: Richard Lord
||Synopsis: Explores the world of a boxing gym in Austin, Texas, dwelling on the discipline of training as people from all walks of life aspire to reach their personal best.
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I am not familiar with director Wiseman's body of work, or should I say
work of the body. But I am a member of a boxing gym and an enthusiast
of film, especially independent film.
The boxer in me dwelled on every detail. The equipment, the space, the
athletes, the trainers, what was said and wore, training methods, punch
combinations, etc. As observation, the film is a great success.
The film may not be, however, sufficiently directorial for viewers
disinterested in boxing. Persons depicted in the film say things.
Wiseman leaves it at that. No attempt is made to develop a narrative,
either for the culture of the gym or for any one individual. The
leaving-alone of stories serves Wiseman well. Such an approach begs
contrast with Werner Herzog's approach to his recently released Cave of
Those who would see the film as a study of "larger questionsabout the
nature of human society, the relationship between individuals and
institutions, and the ways in which people interact and influence each
other" are narrating the film in terms of their own expectations. The
film, I humbly suggest, is best approached from another angle. To quote
basketball player Allen Iverson, "It's about practice." An old man
shadow boxing, a young man talking about working out instead of working
out, parents working out while keeping an eye on their babies: practice
is the unity of intention about their intentions. I would encourage
viewers to focus themselves in this selfsame way. If a single lens is
to be privileged (even as I ought not presume the privilege to claim
so) it is this lens of practice. Wiseman is wise to only let stand
before us the facts. Ultimately, the rest is up to us. That is the
practice that good trainers teach.
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