Bruised review: Halle Berry’s Netflix movie isn’t worth her talent

Halle Berry has always been a skilled and passionate performer, and her films do not always reflect her talent. After her debut in Spike Lee jungle fever In 1991, Perry – still the only black woman to ever win an Academy Award for Best Actress – moved through different stages, genres, and franchises in the decades following her in the work. Dramatic films often seem unsure what to do about her beauty, while genre roles that rely on her sensuality often underestimate her other talents. swordfish And Die another day It made her hung up, but it didn’t give her much to do in the past while she was wearing underwear. The loose X-Men and DC Comics franchise The catwoman Adaptation let her kick her ass, but she asked hardly anything in a big way.

There are exceptions, such as the wonderful complex atlantic clouds Closed room tension Connection, but often, Perry’s performance has outstripped the films in which she was found. And most recently to Perry, her directorial debut bruising, is another disappointing entry in her uneven filmography.

In her Netflix movie role as mixed martial arts fighter Jackie Justice, who is trying to make her way to MMA appraiserPerry’s weakness and physical determination are compelling and impressive. Berry’s eyes have always been her most expressive trait, and her reactions here let viewers see everything she’s feeling: her resignation after a fall from competitive sports and the unemployment and homelessness that ensues, her shock at the return of someone from her past, her determination during endless training sequences, her fragility in a romantic moment. . I found Jackie. – Wait. bruising Center, pouring itself into the part. This is the inexhaustible berry John Wick: Chapter 3 – ParabellumAnd Berry’s emotional openness from atlantic cloudsAnd the oppressed Berry from monster ball. Jackie asks Perry to tap into the myriad layers of performance, and it takes us there.

Halle Berry faces MMA competitor for the cameras at Bruised

Photo: John Baer/Netflix

But Michele Rosenfarb’s screenplay doesn’t serve her well, as it relies on clichés after family trauma, sexual abuse, and self-loathing. bruising Soon he becomes a victim of an irreparable imbalance. The picture it paints of black lives is so reliant on violence, abandonment, and cruelty that it tends to be aggressive in its failure to provide any joy, self-awareness, or community. Berry nailed what this scenario demands of her, but it requires much that at a certain point, Jackie was no longer a character. It’s a message about Survival, and while this is the primary narrative tool for underdog sports films, bruising It does not update or activate a good formula.

Jackie Justice is a former UFC rookie star whose career ended 10-0 when she literally exited the octagon in the middle of a fight. (The film waits over an hour and a half to explain this self-sabotage option.) In the four years since Jackie ran away from the match and left her career behind, she’s fallen toward rock bottom. She lives with her emotionally and physically abusive manager and boyfriend Desi (Adan Canto), gets out of shape and drinks too much, and continues to feud with her neglectful mother Angel (Adriane Lenox). She’s sick of people approaching her on the street and pulling off the viral video of a moment that many have interpreted as a coward, and she’s sick of no purpose.

Two major life events can put Jackie back on the right track, or end her dreams for their own good. The first is that it has gained the notice of Immaculate (Shamier Anderson), the stylish leader of Invicta FC, the largest women’s mixed martial arts league. He believes she can return if she works hard enough, and relates her to his outstanding coach, Buddhakan. (Maybe the best reading of Sheila Atem’s line is her dead-end, questionable ‘She OldUpon seeing Jackie at the gym for the first time.) Meanwhile, Angel unceremoniously dumps Jackie’s estranged 6-year-old son Manny (Danny Boyd Jr.) on Daisy and Jackie’s doorstep. He hasn’t seen Jackie since he was a kid. Manny, after witnessing his father’s murder, refuses to speak. And Desi is cruel and impatient with this new addition to their lives. How will Jackie and Manny relate, and how will Jackie resume her career?

bruisingYour answers are somewhat predictable, and they involve knowing yourself, clearing your walls, and letting others in. The writing is unremarkable, and some scenes are so grueling and exhausting that they practically scream “for your trophies.” (In one, Manny and Jackie are crying and hugging in the middle of the street after hearing “Just the Two of Us” play on corner stereo.)

But most offers are solid. Boyd is the movie’s moral compass, with a thoughtful, interactive performance that needs no words to express his conscience. Atim and Berry have reasonable chemistry, and the former also shows familiar comfort with Stephen McKinley Henderson, in a very small role as Pops coach, who has good comedic timing with Boyd as Manny. But it is difficult to pinpoint notable moments for any of these actors in a script that draws on despair as the development of the character and gloom as the construction of the world.

Jackie Justice (Halle Berry) confronts her silent son over a pretty bad looking pizza with bruises

Photo: John Baer/Netflix

Maybe the only way bruising Attempts to distinguish itself by its focus on MMA. The popularity of the sport has been on the rise since the 1990s and has grown significantly since 2019, when ESPN acquires exclusive TV rights to the UFC bouts and began broadcasting regular headline fight cards in the first Saturday night time slots. The antics of figures who made headlines like UFC President Dana White (who called Former President Donald Trump in different shifts) and its biggest stars, including Conor McGregor (who The latest series of legal cases Overshadowed by his uneven combat record), it also broadened the MMA’s appeal.

MMA is its own unique world, a chaotic quagmire of legitimately sexy sports and the terrible treatment of fighters by their governing bodies. The mainstream audience got a glimpse of it with Gavin O’Connor’s 2011 movie Warrior. bruising, which promotes the UFC as the highest level of MMA, and features its various official logos and icons, dare not question (Often questionable(or) business practicessometimes racist) Marketing jokes. For viewers who are aware of these misdeeds, it is a bit strange to watch bruising Presenting UFC greatness in a narrow-minded way.

This kind of thinking two steps back about the UFC is indicative of Perry’s overall directive approach. She put herself through a legitimately grueling physical transformation to play a lightweight MMA competitor, but her visual style often fails to capture the art of the sport: too-quick cuts that interrupt the flow of movement, or skewed compositional angles that effortlessly undermine her training montage. Both Jackie’s training grounds in Newark and the site of her last battle in Atlantic City look curiously small, without any sense of living in the real places – viewers won’t smell copper sweat or taste copper blood during the must-have scenes and in the moment.

bruising It generally lacks the kind of immersion that a story like this would require. She wants us to stand side by side with Jackie and stay with her, experiencing her pain and her triumph, but she makes the journey from the locker room to the octagon unfathomably long. Even a slight connection to the ongoing tragic situation compels Perry herself to make a difference, but as it is, the film fails to reach KO.

Bruised is currently available in a limited theatrical release, and debuts on Netflix on November 24.

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