Review by Jack Foley
STEVAN Riley’s compelling documentary Blue Blood takes a look at the annual Oxford-Cambridge boxing match and succeeds in delivering a tough but sometimes amusing insight into the lives of five novices training for the annual bout.
The boxers in question all come from the Oxford side of things and comprise confident Yank Justin (an astrophysicist), mild-mannered philosophy student Kavanagh, heavy-hitting Fred, rugby player Boiler and artistically inclined Charlie.
Not all of them will last the gruelling training – but it’s entertaining getting to know what makes each young lad tick and most definitely gripping come the tense finish.
Riley, for his part, seldom flinches away from the harder aspects of the sport and maintains a crisp pace throughout that’s well supported by a particularly strong soundtrack.
But his emphasis on the boxing comes at the expense of any real insight into the Oxford versus Cambridge dynamic, which could have made for an even more rounded experience.
Of the boxing toffs, Fred probably emerges as the most interesting, especially in light of his admission that punching is a useful way of channelling his anger towards his long-lost father. But all make their mark in some way no matter how annoying they appear at times.
Whether Blue Blood has the power to make its mark on cinema-goers primed for the start of the blockbuster season is doubtful but given that it’ll probably be on television screens by the end of the year it’s a useful documentary to keep an eye on.
Riley’s film contains a surprisingly hefty emotional clout.
Running time: 92mins