Tuesday, 19 January 2016

REVIEW - CREED (RYAN COOGLER)


You get what you're given with a boxing movie. So give in to it, surrender to its cliches and its charms, where they exist; in my case, to the knowledge that I'm likely never going to completely enjoy what I'm given, when what I'm given is a boxing movie. But what I'm given in Creed is a pretty good boxing movie, one made with equal amounts of vigour and insight, some attractive respite from the requisite scenes of men trading blows for sport. Ryan Coogler is a damn good filmmaker - he's better than he realises, as evidenced in the moments in Creed where he finds true inspiration and indulges in some thrillingly expressive flair. He has fun with the tropes of the genre, eliciting exciting sequences of technical virtuosity in the fight scenes and the training montages, but Creed's most memorable, valuable moments are its softer ones. Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Creed is a figure fuelled by the perception of others, and his perception of that perception - it's a film not about people but about the relationships between people, whether alive or deceased, and Coogler is excellent at intimating the emotional effects on his characters of their relationships. Creed feels true to life, because it's drawn from real life, not just from experiences of reality but from outlooks on those experiences which we can relate to. Maryse Alberti's cinematography is richly palpable, lending the film a further, sensory element of relatability. But no matter how good this boxing movie is, it remains a boxing movie - the charms are present, and so are the cliches. I've given in, and enjoyed it, but only so far as I can. Sorry, but sports are simply not my thing.