Down, But Not Out! follows four female amateur boxers and their trainer in the last 24 hours before their first competition.
Down, But Not Out! is a short film but it’s still a little long. I think that I would have quite liked it as a 20 minute or so documentary with more structure, but at one hour, it seems to consist mostly of filler material.
The movie’s official description mentions the separate struggles of each of the women who all have their weaknesses in different places (that don’t really have anything to do with boxing). Unfortunately only by watching the film, this doesn’t really become that clear. I felt like the movie didn’t spend enough time introducing each of the women and setting up their characters. Even until the very last, I didn’t recall their names.
At the same time they spend a surprising amount of film on fights by other people. More than once we get to see strangers fight while music is playing and nothing else is happening, making the film feel much longer than it actually is. I would have much rather spend the time with the women or with a shorter film instead.
That being said Down, But Not Out! was not bad film. I quite liked the camerawork and the stark black and white that looked crisp and sober, making it appear somewhat at odds with boxing itself. That contrast worked very well for me.
With a little more structuring of the film and its contents and maybe with a little more background information about boxing as a sport (I know nothing about the rules, the technique or how one really gains points – apart from “two people hitting each other”), the filmmaker’s ideas could have been more easily grasped, making the entire film more engaging. But without it, Down, But Not Out! never really takes off.