Saturday, February 24, 2007

BLUE BLOOD - new movie of the week

BLUE BLOOD is a fantastic no-budget documentary by Stevan Riley covering the run up to the Oxford vs Cambridge Varsity Boxing Match. Minor, but inconsequential, gripes include the amateurish feel of the DV camera footage and a hammy pre-credits prologue, complete with Oscar Wilde quotation, beating drums and centuries-old rivalry. But once the film gets going it's absolutely gripping.

In the first half hour, we are introduced to a bunch of Freshers trying out for the team. They are largely a bunch of charming oddballs - and as such, to my mind, pretty much representative of Oxford life. We have a nerdy-looking philosophy student called Kavanagh; a foppish fine art student called Charlie; an aggressively ambitious unconsciously funny USAF officer called Justin; a serial reject from the OU rugby team called Boiler; and a nice ordinary lad called Fred! All of them bar Justin look unlikely boxers, and all of them, including Justin, are to a certain extent objects of hillarity in the first half hour.

However, we see them train hard and get to know them and like them. As a result, when they face their bouts in the second half hour we feel every punch they sustain and will them to win. Eventually, some make it to the Varsity match and win the coveted Blues. I have to say that I was as bound up in their victories and losses as I was watching the original ROCKY film. (For all you ROCKY-haters, I should explain that the last sentence is about as high as my praise for a boxing film can get.) My admiration for all these young lads was immense, as well as my admiration for the committed coaching team that has to take these raw recruits and turn them around in a mere academic year.

So, while it may be rather hard to find in a cinema near you, I strongly recommend that you go out of your way to find this documentary. It delivers far more entertainment, emotional engagement and insight than any other movie on release this week.

BLUE BLOOD is on release in the UK.

No comments:

Post a Comment