Cradle of Champions review – roll together with the punches
Three adolescents pursue their desire of success at the Ny Daily News Golden Gloves, the greatest, most prestigious amateur boxing tournament worldwide. Fairly conventional in approach, the film hits the expected beats from the sports documentary pretty squarely. What makes it so compelling to enjoy will be the choice of characters and the examination of what, beyond sporting glory, they’re actually fighting for.
Titus, a great, churchgoing kid, is held up by his pastor to illustrate great and bad prayer. Failure while in the ring will upset an entire congregation. Nisa, 1 mum from the Bronx, is fighting to be with her son, and prove an area for the inner-city kids she teaches – that girls are warriors who are able to do anything they set their brains to. And James, along with his feral, pin-eyed glare and churning, explosive anger, is fighting to haul his family out from the extreme poverty that marked his childhood. And he’s fighting for the reason that alternative, for broken boys like James, is usually a large amount of trouble.