Netflix UK film review: Gored
Footage in the ring6
Devotion out of the ring7
Ivan Radford | On 07, Mar 2016
Director: Ido Mizrahy
Cast: Antonio Barrera
Watch Gored online in the UK: Netflix UK / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
Being bad at a sport isn’t something that you would normally be proud of. Then again, bullfighting isn’t necessarily something you would consider a sport. For Antonio Barrera, it’s a way of life. And he’s devoted his existence to it.
Gored is a portrait of Barrera, who has become known as the most gored bullfigter in the world – a title that either indicates a questionable level of skill or an even more questionable dedication to putting himself in danger’s way. It’s hard to have much sympathy for someone who harms bulls for the entertainment of a paying crowd, but director Ido Mizrahy makes the wise decision to avoid passing judgementon his subject.
Instead, he relies upon the power of seeing Barrera in action. That tendency to show rather than tell pays off in dividends throughout the documentary’s short runtime: even in the opening scene, we witness Antonio kneel down on the ground, a risky, deadly move, which leaves your heart in your mouth through sheer visceral reflex. Later, he is badly injured and rushed to hospital – only to take out his breathing apparatus and head back to the ring to continue his work.
Mizrahy continually keeps the focus on that one-on-one battle between a man and a bull. Peppering the footage with talking heads from Barrera’s wife, sister and even critics of the pastime, there are constant shocks (and some troubling videos of bullfighting), but what emerges is a study of a man with an obsession with death – a study that refuses to condone his career, but also takes the time to listen to his perspective of it. Growing older, and carrying more responsibility for his family, his struggle to survive outside of the ring becomes as intriguing as his struggling inside the ring is disturbing. The result isn’t a sports film, or an endorsement of a cultural tradition, but Gored remains an undeniably interesting watch.
Gored is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.