The Good Fight Review
By Oliver Mates (February 16th, 2018)
Directed by: Ben Holman
Produced by: Ben Holman
Cinematography by: Neirin Jones
Music by: Maga Bo, Ben Lamar Gay, MC Cidinho
Ben Holman’s The Good Fight captures the story of Alan Duarte, a man who perseveres through personal loss and marches through an environment submerged with gun violence, in order to improve the lives of others in his community. He does all this through the sport of boxing.
It’s a premise that sounds familiar, and in fact it feels familiar. Yet Holman uses the truth of Alan’s story to present a visceral and emotional experience through this favela in Rio de Janeiro. Right as the film begins, we’re thrown deep into this world. And as Alan tells us his story, we also witness the current surroundings of his neighbourhood - the streets he walks through on a day to day basis, the people he comes across, the gun shots that echo at night, sounding loud and close. All these elements play a vital role in establishing the fact that this is an ongoing battle Alan would face on a day to day basis. At the same time, this is the very home that molded, shaped and inspired Alan to start his own boxing project called Abraço Campeão.
This film depicts a man who invites young people of all ages to take part in this sport, not just as a distraction from a life of violence, but also as something to truly invest in while collectively growing as stronger people. We’re able to see a community come together and feel connected. They train, they learn, they dance and they raise each other, constantly inspiring those around them to be a part of something special. The Good Fight has quite a powerful and hopeful message to share, but everything really comes together as a complete experience by the way it’s edited. Holman found a great rhythm to the piece and is able to tell a story with a lot of weight to it, in a crisp 17-minute runtime. The intertwining of upbeat south-american music gives us waves of life throughout the dark subset of Alan's day-to-day hardships - a perfect and striking contrast utilized by Holman masterfully throughout the piece. The film weaves in the darker, emotional moments from Alan’s past with his present ambitions… all without losing grasp of the uplifting soul of the story being told.
The Good Fight is an incredibly satisfying triumph. It’s both a touching and exhilarating documentary, capable of inspiring anyone who is willing to give this film a chance. Ben Holman has done an exceptional job in crafting a film that beautifully nourishes the single most crucial feeling, one that transcends all borders and cultures…hope.
- Oliver Mates