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The Fight [Bradley Shemmell, UK, 2020]

Nightmares often show us our darkest fears and insecurities manifested as a physical image. These fears can hold us back. Therefore, it's down to us to find a way to rise above them, whether alone or with another’s help.

Directed by Bradley Shemmell, The Fight is very straightforward. The Fighter (played by Sam Armfield) is a young boxer plagued with nightmares of a never-ending fight, a representation of his fears and insecurities. The Lover, played by Olivia Colligne Gawne, is his girlfriend. The more peaceful of the two, she is composing a poem to help centre her boyfriend and bring perspective to him, something that he desperately wants.

The relationship is the heart of the film as Shemmell brings out realistic performances, as the pair seeming like a real couple who genuinely care for each other. A line from the poem perhaps best summarises the dynamic of their relationship: "You only ever destroyed, to make space for me to create." This is an exciting look at their relationship as it shows how they fit together, whilst simultaneously portraying their opposing characteristics.

The central theme of The Fight is what it means to be an outsider, and how two people can band together to find solace. The characters both feel like outsiders, but for different reasons. The Fighter feels like his peers saw him as an outcast after he won a fight in his youth; The Lover, in contrast, feels like an outcast due to her parents forcing her into psychotherapy.

The cinematography of the film is unique; the scenes are dark, but there's still hope, which matches the tone of the film. It's a representation of the mental state of the protagonist. The most fascinating of this are the boxing scenes. Shemmell shows the melancholic and general hopelessness by adding a blue tint and focusing on the match coming from outside the room adding to the idea of this being a nightmare where there is no genuine escape.


'The Fight' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2020.


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