Bruised – Fighting for a living, the review: Halle Berry’s fall and rebirth in the ring

The review of Bruised – Fighting for a living, the directorial debut film by Halle Berry, also protagonist, which tells the story of a rebirth of a fighter, available on Netflix.

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Bruised – Fighting for a Living: Halle Berry and Valentina Schevchenko in a scene from the film

We want to start ours Bruised review – Struggle for a living pointing out like this film available on Netflix both directed and starring Halle Berry, on his directorial debut and the absolute protagonist of the story. A film almost made to measure for itself, where the limelight and the spotlight are focused on her. On her suffering face, on her swollen body, on the character of a wrestler named Justice who, omen name, must get up after a big fall. It should be a narration between the family drama and the recovery through sport, but it ends up being the story of a stage where the actress constructs a show attentive to the public, waiting for the applause.

Justice for Jackie

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Bruised – Fighting for a Living: Halle Berry and Danny Boyd Jr. in a scene from the film

Jackie was a mixed martial arts champion, victorious in UFC matches ten times in a row, when a panic attack changed her life for good during a match. A more personal than sporting defeat, which saw her leave the ring literally climbing the cage and surrender not only to her opponent, but to her wealth. Four years later, Jackie lives in poverty with her boyfriend / manager, a sometimes violent man who locks her up in a toxic relationship. One day, however, his life changes radically, for two parallel reasons, one linked to sport, the other linked to family. Jackie is contacted by another manager, ready to return the champion she was to the ring. Our protagonist will have to go back to training hard, under the watchful eyes of coach Buddhakan, one of the best on the square, to win a match with the fearsome Lucia “Lady Killer” Chavez, above all regain self-confidence and get out of that same cage that she built herself. Meanwhile, Manny, the six-year-old son she had abandoned in her father’s care, is entrusted to her after the latter’s death, murdered by a gunshot. Jackie will have to take care of her son who is still in shock: he does not speak, he does not seek emotional contact. Despite the difficulties, Jackie will have to go back to being Justice and do justice to herself, to get herself and her whole life back on its feet.

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A classic tea towel

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Bruised – Fighting for a Living: Halle Berry, Shamier Anderson and Sheila Atim in a scene from the film

Drop to your knees and stand up. In very few actions, a film is summarized that is based on one of the most classic canvasses of sports cinema, capable of transforming a discipline, even violent like MMA, into a metaphor of resilience and the strength to raise one’s head. Jackie is a loser, at least in this way she is represented for most of the duration (all too generous, but never heavy) of the film, and hers is a path of change that will lead her to be champion even outside the ring. It is the cinema of the losers that sees its highest and most sincere point in Rocky Balboa. Sincerity seems to be lacking in Bruised – Fighting for a living: more than a film, the general feeling is that of witnessing a product created and built to please the public and, above all, to demonstrate that Halle Berry is still a talented actress, can still give a lot. This explains the sometimes too voyeuristic look on swollen eyes, bruises, and a particular taste in showing flesh and physicality. A film tailored to Halle Berry who gets involved, fighting a fight that goes beyond the confines of the screen to compete against the gaze of the spectators.

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A film about and for Halle Berry

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Bruised – Fighting for a Living: Sheila Atim in a scene from the film

We don’t want to hide behind a finger: Halle berry he knows exactly what he is doing. His Jackie is a character that works and the actress knows perfectly well that she has a role that could be a special watch for the next. awards season. The result is a very explicit desire to prove his talent, a challenge that we can consider successful. Even in the control room, Berry manages not to disfigure by delivering a very dirty, but reasoned aesthetic, capable of creating an intimate and “bottom-up” atmosphere that builds an excellent bond with his audience. Where, however, the film shows a little too much the side is on the writing. With the exception of the protagonist, the rest of the cast fails to stand out, imprisoned in stereotyped and not particularly developed roles. An example of this is the character of Jackie’s mother, incoherent and with a different character from scene to scene based on what the film wants to express. Even some narrative choices seem to belong more to a construction for a product built to perfection than to a true artistic expressive force. This is demonstrated by some moments that are placed on the border with the involuntary ridicule, in search of exaggeration and a pain that is too shouted to be sincere. With the spotlight on the protagonist removed, there is very little that is new and fresh to observe. It is therefore not surprising that even the last shot of the film, which should close the story with an emotional knockout, whatever the cost, does not have the courage to represent the most natural ending possible, relegating even the last moment to Halle Berry. .

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At the end of our review of Bruised – Struggling to live, we can only underline how the sports film, based on an all too abused canvas, manages to capture the viewer’s gaze thanks to the performance of Halle Berry, absolute protagonist in front of and behind the camera. Jack. The result, however, is a film that fails to be truly sincere, showing its nature as a cinematic product created almost at the table for the awards season. The story of this fighter, on and off the screen, eager to get up, keeps the spotlight on herself, forgetting a bit about everything else.

Because we like it

  • Halle Berry gives a capital test, mostly through the body.
  • The direction manages to capture the viewer by creating a bond with the character.

What’s wrong

  • The story is based on an all too overused canvas.
  • The whole film, too focused on the protagonist, appears to be built to be the protagonist of the awards season, ending up losing that narrative urgency that could have given it an extra gear.

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