One boxer with Down syndrome is on the verge of the match of his life. The crowds are screaming, and the promoter is anxious to get the bout going.
But in the back rooms, he faces a bigger ordeal: should he even be allowed to fight at all? As his trainer father and his concerned sister fight it out, the fighter faces a difficult choice.
This short sports drama boasts stunning photography and editing, creating a visceral cinematic experience that immerses viewers in the fighter’s experience in and out of the ring.
Beyond the camerawork, the film is rooted in strong performances, particularly from lead actor Tommy Jessop, who was the first actor with Down syndrome to star in a BBC prime-time drama. To prepare for the role, Tommy and actor Simon Kunz, who played his father, trained at a famed boxing club in East London, giving the film a remarkable authenticity and power.
“Fighter” is careful not to take sides, and both arguments pulling at Tommy are presented with honesty and passion. But the ambiguity at the film’s end — and the idea that those with disabilities also deserve the right to self-determination — gives the film an unforgettable impact that lingers long after the movie ends.