The Cradle of Champions (Burtle Bull, 2017): USA

Reviewed by Veronica Arvidsson. At Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2017.

Bartle Bull makes his director debut with the documentary of one of americas most proud sporting event, namely The Golden Glove tournament. The Golden Glove is the biggest tournament for ammeter boxers and is a tournament that occurs every year in New York.

Cradle of Champions follows three young boxers on their physical and mental journey towards the finale of The Golden Gloves tournamnet which is held in Madison Square Garden. It’s an honorable title to uphold in the boxer community and these three fighters are some of the most anticipated candidates for the titles. The three boxers all have interesting personal stories outside the ring, and as well as we get to follow their training for The Golden Gloves we get to see who they really are, their backgrounds, and we get to meet their families. We don’t only get to follow the journey of these guys but also get an inside glimpse on what The Golden Gloves really is. We get a lesson of it’s history and how much it means to the people of the boxing community, not only the boxers, but the audience, the coaches and more to it.

An incredibly good cinematography which brings us beautiful close ups of the boxers while in the ring as well as in their emotional moments outside the ring. It brings us closer to them as individuals and makes us root for them in the action of the sport.

I’m a big fan of sport films but have for some reason never appealed to boxing either in film or real life. That’s why in the end of this film I was surprised over how much it moved me. I believe it’s because of the many perspective which the story is told. It’s not just the bloody, sweaty struggle to reach the finale of The Golden Gloves, but it’s everything that surrounds the lives of these boxers, their emotinal, inspiring life stories, their will to become role models in their communities and their overcoming of real life obstacles. That’s what brings this story it’s true life and that’s what makes it a story worth telling.


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