Sunday, April 8, 2012
Producer: Thomas Kufus
Featuring: Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier, “Crazy” Tim Credeur, Gil “The Thrill” Guillory and Albert Stainback
Biographical Sports Documentary
1 hour, 37 minutes
After making four documentaries about the Iraq War (Gunner Palace, The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair, Bulletproof Salesman, How to Fold a Flag) the filmmaking team of Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker (a.k.a. Pepper & Bones) decided to turn their cameras on another form of fighting in the aptly named neighbourhood of Fightville in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Fightville shows the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting through the lens of a minor league promoter Gil “The Thrill” Guillory – himself a former fighter – and the Gladiators Academy run by the no-nonsense “Crazy” Tim Credeur. There, life is simply hard work and a daily grind of training and sparring.
The two rising stars at the Academy are Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier and Albert Stainback. Both are fascinating characters with troubled pasts. Dustin has had trouble with the authorities since the age of ten when he knocked out the teeth of a fifteen-year-old who was bullying him. Albert watched his father abuse his mother on a regular basis.
The movie takes a while to get going as it lays the groundwork for those who might be completely unfamiliar with MMA fighting. But it pays off in as much as this film will be highly watchable for fans and non-fans alike.
Once Fightville settles in to the progress of the two up-and-comers, it clicks nicely. Unfortunately, one of the main characters eventually suffers a personal crisis and his story line simply peters out. Such is the dangers of documentary filmmaking – reality doesn't always go the way you want it to. But luckily they had two main contenders and the other fighter delivers a dramatic story arc.
Fightville is beautifully shot by Tucker with lots of stylish touches. The use of music was occasionally heavy-handed, but otherwise demonstrates strong filmmaking. All in all this was a solid addition to the fight film genre.