Bobby and Brian by Alex Ash

A boxer helps his trainer turn his life around in Alex Ash's candid film.

This short documentary lays bare the mutually dependent relationship between two men as they live and work together while training for a boxing match. Boxer Brian strives simply to win the bout, while trainer Bobby attempts to leave a life of violent crime behind him.

This film is Rated by the BBC Fresh team. Rated films are those the team or guest reviewers enjoyed, and feel are worth highlighting because of their production techniques. Reviews may contain spoilers.

David Quinn, BBC Fresh researcher, says:

I like this film for a number of reasons. Firstly, I think the access is great and that's incredibly important when making a documentary like this one, where as a filmmaker you’re trying to go behind the scenes, take the gloss off something (in this case the spectacle of the boxing ring) and reveal something honest. It’s obvious that Alex has spent a lot of time getting to know Bobby and Brian to get them to talk so openly on camera, and that can’t have been too easy.

What I also like about this is the subversion of a sporting cliché around the idea of an older mentor bringing order and discipline to a younger sporting protégé. Typically you would expect Brian to be learning from Bobby and somehow turning his life around by taking lessons from an older coach. But Alex has cleverly brought to the fore the idea that, in fact, Bobby is the one who’s desperate to turn his life around and move away from a difficult past – with Brian providing the focus for his efforts.

My favourite moments in the film are those that seem to sum up the respect Bobby has for Brian and the symbiotic relationship between the two of them. The first is at the start, where we see Bobby carefully wrapping Brian’s hands and straightening his jacket ready for the ring. The second is at the end where the two of them enjoy pizza together. These are tender moments that hint at a very close bond.

There are also some very funny moments. Bobby’s self-deprecating humour is infectious and the mickey-taking between him and Brian emphasises again the closeness of their partnership.

So that’s why I rate Bobby and Brian by Alex Ash.

Release date:


10 minutes

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