Impact (Available April 26-27)
One of the strongest features for this year festival is exploring local issues and individuals—and this film is no exception: At the core of Impact is Medford-based Troy Wohosky, who was once a top junior boxer in the country (as in, number three, and an Olympic hopeful), but whose future was derailed by gang affiliation and a manslaughter conviction. Billed as a documentary, the film plays more as a profile of Wohosky as he has returned to boxing, primarily as a coach and mentor with Spartan Boxing Gym in his hometown of Medford.
Wohosky is imminently likeable, and his life story compelling—and that is enough to carry the film, although it is frustrating that the filmmakers use the film to tell rather than show, and often the movie plays more like an info-mmercial than a documentary, just hammering on the same theme again and again.
Tucked into the movie is a teenage boy with anxiety and Tourette Syndrome, but who finds his groove in boxing (and with Wohosky as a supportive mentor). The footage of this boy’s first in-the-ring fights, as he struggles with nerves, is gripping. Unfortunately, though, most of the film fails to simply sit ring-side and let these stories unfold naturally—and instead overdubs interviews and scenes with melodramatic music, and weaves in trite quotes about “the kids are our future.” It is too bad, as a lighter hand by the director would have let these stories unfold into their true full glory and impact. But even so, the original premise is so important, and the men and boys profiled so compelling, that the overall result is perhaps one of the most important films made about Medford in years. PB