Like Water – Review



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Behind the scenes of greatness

Considering the UFC is less than a month away from one of the biggest rematches in mixed martial arts history, Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 2, it’s curious to see that the documentary about Silva’s buildup to their first fight Like Water has finally gotten a theatrical release. Its timing is obvious, to gain traction from fans wanting to see events around the first fight while the second is weeks away, and the film has been so successful on the indie film festival/documentary circuit that a theatrical release is warranted.

The film follows the UFC middleweight champion, and the man most pundits have listed as the best fighter in the world, in the aftermath of one of his biggest controversies: UFC 112. Silva would dominate Demian Maia for the better part of five rounds, of course, but as the fight progressed Silva opted to clown around in the cage and intentionally try to show up Maia by clowning around. With the promotion disgusted at his antics inside the cage, his next opponent was lined up: Greco Roman wrestling Olympic alternate Chael Sonnen.

Giving us a glimpse into the life of Silva at home in Brazil, as well as at his training camp in Los Angeles, we follow Silva through his preparation for the fight as we see him deal with everything in his life. From missing his family to listening to Sonnen’s remarkably brutal trash talk, which in part gained him fame as one of the best trash talkers in sport per hack radio personality Jim Rome, we get to see several months in the life of the greatest fighter on the planet. With the fight on the horizon, we get to see how a champion has to fight with all of the surrounding accoutrement that goes with it.

It’s such a remarkable glimpse into the champion’s life because Silva and his management team gave fairly unprecedented access to Silva. With some candid interviews from his opponent (Sonnen) and UFC president Dana White, amongst others, we get an inside pass into Silva’s life as he prepares for what would be the biggest fight of his career with Sonnen. If this had been Silva collecting another scalp in brutal fashion, adding Sonnen to his Joe Louis-esque “bum of the month” club, this would be just another documentary about a champion preparing for a title fight.

UFC 117 would be one of the fights that defined his career and made people respect him.

That fight is why the documentary has the sort of weight it does: Sonnen would dominate Silva for 23 minutes before a last minute submission from the champion would retain his title. It was the fight of the year by most publications in 2010 and is the one that gave Silva’s career a weight it hadn’t had before; he was the best fighter in the world but people doubted him because he’d never really been challenged during his UFC run. Silva had been this unstoppable force for so long that it was easy to dismiss his title reign: Georges St. Pierre had better challengers in the weight division below him and Silva wouldn’t rule the roost in the division on top of him, or so critics went. Sonnen’s near victory, and Silva’s improbable snatching of victory from the jaws of defeat, came to be a fight that defined both men.

Seeing Silva’ career trajectory after the fight, and the buildup to this one, Like Water is an absolutely fascinating look at a man who has captured the imagination of MMA fans without giving them much to go on. If you want to understand the man behind the myth, Like Water is your documentary.


Director: Pablo Croce

Tags:





Like Water – Review



starstarstarhalf

Behind the scenes of greatness

Considering the UFC is less than a month away from one of the biggest rematches in mixed martial arts history, Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 2, it’s curious to see that the documentary about Silva’s buildup to their first fight Like Water has finally gotten a theatrical release. Its timing is obvious, to gain traction from fans wanting to see events around the first fight while the second is weeks away, and the film has been so successful on the indie film festival/documentary circuit that a theatrical release is warranted.

The film follows the UFC middleweight champion, and the man most pundits have listed as the best fighter in the world, in the aftermath of one of his biggest controversies: UFC 112. Silva would dominate Demian Maia for the better part of five rounds, of course, but as the fight progressed Silva opted to clown around in the cage and intentionally try to show up Maia by clowning around. With the promotion disgusted at his antics inside the cage, his next opponent was lined up: Greco Roman wrestling Olympic alternate Chael Sonnen.

Giving us a glimpse into the life of Silva at home in Brazil, as well as at his training camp in Los Angeles, we follow Silva through his preparation for the fight as we see him deal with everything in his life. From missing his family to listening to Sonnen’s remarkably brutal trash talk, which in part gained him fame as one of the best trash talkers in sport per hack radio personality Jim Rome, we get to see several months in the life of the greatest fighter on the planet. With the fight on the horizon, we get to see how a champion has to fight with all of the surrounding accoutrement that goes with it.

It’s such a remarkable glimpse into the champion’s life because Silva and his management team gave fairly unprecedented access to Silva. With some candid interviews from his opponent (Sonnen) and UFC president Dana White, amongst others, we get an inside pass into Silva’s life as he prepares for what would be the biggest fight of his career with Sonnen. If this had been Silva collecting another scalp in brutal fashion, adding Sonnen to his Joe Louis-esque “bum of the month” club, this would be just another documentary about a champion preparing for a title fight.

UFC 117 would be one of the fights that defined his career and made people respect him.

That fight is why the documentary has the sort of weight it does: Sonnen would dominate Silva for 23 minutes before a last minute submission from the champion would retain his title. It was the fight of the year by most publications in 2010 and is the one that gave Silva’s career a weight it hadn’t had before; he was the best fighter in the world but people doubted him because he’d never really been challenged during his UFC run. Silva had been this unstoppable force for so long that it was easy to dismiss his title reign: Georges St. Pierre had better challengers in the weight division below him and Silva wouldn’t rule the roost in the division on top of him, or so critics went. Sonnen’s near victory, and Silva’s improbable snatching of victory from the jaws of defeat, came to be a fight that defined both men.

Seeing Silva’ career trajectory after the fight, and the buildup to this one, Like Water is an absolutely fascinating look at a man who has captured the imagination of MMA fans without giving them much to go on. If you want to understand the man behind the myth, Like Water is your documentary.


Director: Pablo Croce

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