Reflections

SXSW 2000 Film Festival and Conference

Price of Glory

Dir: Carlos Ávila; Scr: Phil Berger; Prod: Moctesuma Esparza, Arthur Friedman, Robert Katz, Exec Prod: Loretha C. Jones, Carolyn Manetti, Stephanie Striegel; Co-Exec Prod: Morris Ruskin, Laurie Wagman; DP: Affonso Beato; Ed: Gary Karr; Cast: Jimmy Smits, Jon Seda, Clifton González González, Maria del Mar, Ernesto Hernández, Paul Rodriguez, Ron Perlman.

35mm, 115 min., 2000 (RP)

Carlos Ávila's entry in the recent spate of boxing movies is this story of the Ortega family from Mariposa, Arizona. Patriarch Arturo is a retired boxer who mercilessly pushes his sons from Pee-Wee to Silver Gloves to Golden Gloves to professional competition. Of course there's a price to pay, and Arturo nearly destroys his family in the process; as his sons get older, they resent their father's control over their lives and strike out on their own. Shady promoter Everson (Ron Perlman) sees the boys' potential and tries to steal them from their father's tutelage at every turn. Price of Glory's script does occasionally stray into the boxing cliché, but what might have been a mawkish, overly sentimental drama is carried by sensitive, satisfying performances and fleshed-out characters. Jimmy Smits excels as Arturo, the father who projects his frustration with his own boxing career onto his sons. With his mustache, Italian suits, and state-trooper sunglasses, Perlman brings the proper amount of sleaze to the ruthless Everson. Director Avila injects head-spinning technique and boundless energy into the fight scenes and a rich visual sensibility to the movie's exterior shots. The performances and family dynamics definitely lift Price of Glory above the ranks of typical sports movies.

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