A star in the making. A troubled young talent. A charismatic promoter and a wise veteran fighter/manager.
Documentary filmmakers Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein hit the jackpot when they embarked on “Fightville.” They just didn’t know it at first, starting the project almost by accident.
In the opening moments of the documentary Fightville, a small-time mixed martial arts promoter named Gil (The Thrill) Guillory fishes for the words to explain the sport’s exploding popularity.Finally, he settles on three: “Fighting is truth.”
The film sets out to demystify an oft-attacked sport, and this demystification is justified through the eloquence of the subjects, the cohesion of the editing, and the raw beauty of seeing human instinct at its most primal form.
It’s a departure for Tucker and his co-director and wife, Petra Epperlein. Their last four films, including the critically acclaimed Gunner Palace, revolved around Iraq. Tucker says it was the soldiers who turned him on to MMA. And he sees an interesting link between all-too-real combat and what takes place in the octagon. “We live in this very sedate, almost disembodied digital society,” he says. “And I think that’s why these martial cultures have an appeal. It’s something intense and real, with physical meaning and consequences.”
Chuck Palahniuk started a phenomenon when he crafted a disillusioned yuppie who finds his self and worth through underground fight clubs, and ‘Fightville’ makes it legit, looking into Mixed Martial Arts and the men who focus their boiling testosterone in the ring. The film digs into both sides of the equation: the young men who try to find focus with the sport and the efforts of fighter Gil Guillery to make it a popular and financially successful business. Turns out it’s more than just men beating the competition to a pulp.
This movie is really about the American dream. It’s just a little more extreme than the American dream. — Tim Credeur
Fightville is fantastic. It’s not really even about MMA, and it’s definitely not about the fan culture around MMA. What it’s really about is trying to be the ultimate at something you love.
It might sound like an exaggeration, but I genuinely believe that Fightville may be one of the best things to happen to the sport in the last couple of years. It sheds a fair and unbiased light at a sport that has so often been vilified (who can forget John McCain’s idiotic “human cockfighting” statement from a couple of years back?). Yes, there is blood and brutality, but what sport doesn’t have it?