Saturday, December 11, 2010

Boxing Gym

"Boxing Gym," a film not extraordinarily stimulating but with some gripping snippets, is the first film that I've seen by Frederick Wiseman. He aspires to be a literal fly on the wall, as he did for countless previous films. This means no interaction with the subjects of the documentary, no overlays in sound, (as has been said) no traditional interviews. He strips the documentary down to its roots and makes documents, with no particular activistic charge to them (though it's possible that his earlier works, such as "Titticut Follies" and "High School," worked to some degree in that way).

The film is 91 minutes of boxing training, akin to what it would be like to walk through R. Lord's Gym and observe. The film only leaves the parameters of the gym for about 4 to 5 minutes of the film's entire running time. From this, you should be able to tell whether or not you will enjoy this film. Personally, I wasn't blown away by it (note: the film might play better when I'm better rested). That is, as a whole. There are couple of sections that I found quite engaging, such as the extended dialogue between a newcomer and a longtime patron of the gym, who stresses that his favorite part of boxing is "the buzz that comes from being punched in the face." And, at times, the watching of people training can be rather absorbing, with Wiseman often focusing on the ever-important feet of the boxers.

While the film has the ability to sometimes has this ability to get us involved in conditioning, I'd imagine that I will come to forget it rather soon. I agree with the speculation that this is due to the film's lack of a truly captivating subject. I am looking forward to looking through more of Wiseman's back catalogue (such as "State Legislature," "Domestic Violence," and "Basic Training"). I hardly think that "Boxing Gym," with its only glints of pull, is one of his essentials. B-

All of Wiseman's works, much thought to be hard to find, are available at


Dwayne said...
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Jack said...

If you were to choose a boxing gym that will benefit you, choose one that has a good boxing trainer.