Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Like Water (2011)

Like Water is probably the best sports film that played this year's Tribeca film fest. I think I saw all of them except one and this one was head and shoulders above the rest.

The story of Mixed Martital Arts (MMA) champion Anderson Silva over a period of several months as he prepares to defend his title for a record time.

The film has a couple of virtues that make it hard to dislike.

First the film is about a really nice guy. Silva comes off as a great person who doesn’t pretend to be anything other that what he is, a soft spoken gentleman who’ll kick your ass. He wants to provide for the family he loves and he wants to do it In such away that keeps him, them and his opponents out of harms way. I love that Silva is that rarest of things these days, a philosopher warrior. If you listen to what he’s saying and what his trainers are saying you realize that he believes in what he says and what he does and that all of the philosophy in his talk is more than talk but a way of life. I was blown away by one of his final statements about life being not about winning or losing but about how long you can keep moving forward. The reason being was that it was an attitude echoed by the award winning and truly great film Gallants, which ends with a similar statement about life.

Secondly the film tells its story with a skill and economy that most other documentaries I saw this year don’t use. It tells its story with a laser like precision and then it gets off. The film runs a scant 75 minutes but it fills each one with some great sights and sounds and enough information that even some one like me who doesn’t like MMA now wants to watch it.

Lastly the film the filmmakers lucked into one hell of a story. The battle of Silva and his opponent outside of the ring is mere appetizer to what happens in the octagon. I don’t want to tell you what happens but even Hollywood couldn’t make anything this dramatic or exciting.

I loved this film. It made me feel good. It has the rush that most Hollywood blockbusters and even small scale feel good films can only hope to achieve. Even if you don’t like MMA you need to see this film if for no other reason its just a great ride. (besides its infinitely better than the more highly touted Klitchko film.)

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