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The Independent Critic

Conceived and Directed by
Nico Sabenorio
Jordan Bowley, Stephen Clarke, Tim Witte
Running Time
26 Mins.

 "Bout That Bout" Review 
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There are a couple of things you learn rather quickly once you become a film critic.

First, you quickly realize that "liking" a film and its subject matter is completely and utterly irrelevant. A good film critic doesn't tell you if a film is good or bad, but helps you decide if the film is right for you.

Secondly, a good film also quickly realizes that "liking" a film is simply not enough. While being entertained, inspired, educated or otherwise changed by a cinematic experience is nearly always a plus, an effective critic can look beyond their own enjoyment into the actual art and skills involved in the filmmaking process.

I didn't "like" Nico Sabenerio's Bout That Bout, a short doc centering around a group of Florida high school students who go about creating an underground and illegal fighting club (think Fight Club).

I do, however, appreciate the film and Sabenerio's ability to capture this group of high school seniors in a way that exudes honesty without necessarily succumbing to the boredom created faux machismo that permeates seemingly every cell of this small Florida town. 

In a mere 26 minutes, Sabenorio manages to spotlight the key players in this fighting club while also exploring the culture of a small town and how this culture plants the seeds that would grow such a club. It's not necessarily that these are violence prone young men, but rather they are caught up in the trappings of a life and environment that fails to inspire, empower or challenge. As a result, these young men seemingly create a world in which they can empower themselves, challeng others and, in the absence of inspiration, it is primarily their own desperation that ultimately shines through.