Saturday, 15 June 2013

Raging Boll (4 Stars)

Yet another documentary! I only wrote about one documentary from 2010 to 2012, and now it's been three documentaries in two months. I do actually watch more documentaries, usually those broadcast on television, but they don't meet my criteria for being written about:

1. The documentary is in one part.

2. This one part lasts at least 70 minutes.

This documentary is about a subject that's been fascinating me lately. The subject is Uwe Boll, or rather the way people hate Uwe Boll. I still don't completely understand it. "Raging Boll" is a neutral handling of the subject, based mainly on interviews with Boll himself, but also giving the opinions of his family, his friends and his enemies. The title of the film is based on his boxing matches against his critics in September 2006. When I saw the cover photo I expected the fights to be shown in detail, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

For those who don't know about the boxing matches, prior to 2006 Uwe had been constantly attacked online. Not just his films were criticised, the attacks were personal. Web sites such as IMDB were full of death threats against him; as fast as the moderators deleted the threats new ones appeared. Uwe sent invitations to his harshest critics to face him in the boxing ring. The plan was to fight five matches one after another in Vancouver, but since one of the matches had to be held in Spain it took place on an earlier date. The matches were scheduled to last ten rounds each, but he managed to knock out all his opponents in the first round.

My respect to the critics who were man enough to face Uwe in the ring, but on the night they were cry babies. One critic objected, "The fight is unfair, you've been training". Uwe answered, quite correctly, "You've had two months time to prepare. Why weren't you training?" Indeed, after the four fights Uwe held a speech in which he said that his opponents had lost because they hadn't prepared themselves for their fight, just as they hadn't prepared themselves to make good film criticism.

Uwe calls online film critics amateurs. The ones who criticise him, anyway. For me that isn't an insult. My film blog is amateurish as well, and I don't care. I'm no Roger Ebert, not now and I never shall be (even though I do feel a certain kinsmanship with him). If I were a journalist I'd make more of an effort to write professionally. But one thing I would never do is make death threats to directors or actors that I don't like. If you asked me for a list I could probably name half a dozen actors that I dislike, by which I mean that I don't think that their acting ability merits the amount of money and fame that they receive. If you asked me for a list of musicians I could probably name even more, because there are many rappers whose music and misogynistic image I detest. But why make death threats? I wouldn't say, "Tom Cruise makes bad films so he deserves to die". That's silly. All I'd say is, "Tom Cruise is a highly overrated actor. Instead of hiring him directors should give talented young actors a chance".

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