The Last Gladiators (2013)
Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 11
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 1
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 239
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The opening sections of this film play like a greatest-hits clip collection, but when Gibney delves deeper into Nilan's personality, it's a magnetic portrait of a rinkside Raging Bull.
Gibney celebrates hockey's fisticuff traditions while also recognizing how such brutality ultimately takes its greatest toll on those who perpetrate it.
Gibney deserves credit for making a hockey film that the uninitiated can watch with interest, and for focusing on an issue even some hockey fans can't make up their minds about.
Pretty or not, the stories of dropped gloves and smashed faces shed some clarity on the game's violence ...
At his best, Gibney focuses on his subject and then explodes it outward. But with "The Last Gladiators," he's taken a rare misstep. There is undoubtedly a great story within the bruised history of NHL enforcers. Why, though, did he choose Chris Nilan's?
Even if you're not a hockey fan, Nilan is a modest and insightful guy.
Reflecting the sweep of aggression that swallowed the game throughout the 20th century, Gibney tackles his points smartly, laboring to communicate the thrill of combat and the shock of retirement.
Gibney, always a master of the documentary interview, gives us another captivating talking head in Chris Nilan.
It doesn't try to sell you on fighting in hockey, it just presents the environment, the personalities, and lets it all speak for itself...
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