Projections - Movie Reviews

Girlfight Girlfight

From the opening scene we can tell from Diana's (Michelle Rodriguez) eyes that she is angry and brooding.   Living in the Brooklyn projects of Red Hook with her father and brother, she remembers the beatings her mother withstood before committing suicide and she enters her passage to adulthood, quick tempered and without discipline.  Boxing may be her only way out.

With little understanding from her father and secret support from her brother Tiny (Ray Santiago), she begins to train in secret with Hector (Jaime Tirelli) the coach her father hired to teach Tiny how to box.

Diana relishes the work outs and the process becomes an outlet for her anger and she slowly learns to discipline herself.  She even allows herself to be sufficiently feminine to attract fellow boxer Adrian (Santiago Douglas) and a tentative gentle romance begins.

Writer/director Karyn Kusama doesn't have a unique story but she brings a new style of heroine to the screen.  Rodriguez' Diana, is not a gentle feminine character, she is tough and has witnessed generations of families who never move beyond the small world framed by low income and violence.  All of that creates a sweaty, strong young woman who has muscle tone and strong legs - not a slender cover girl.

Kusama, creates unique boxing sequences by using various camera locations, the most effective is from above.  We also experience the sensation of a direct punch through a blinding flash of light which simulates a momentary disorientation as the glove strikes.

Michelle Rodriguez would like to be an action hero; she may have made a start on that journey as a girl who fights.  Kusama's Girlfight either has opened the door for a new type of female heroine, or this is a one time variation from the standard.


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