Six Rounds – yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s about a boxer. Well, former boxer Stally (Adam J. Bernard) and his new and improved life after getting away from rude street boys and people who want nothing other than just to have that next ‘fight’ with someone because they looked at them in slightly the wrong way.
Independent filmmaker Marcus Flemmings tells the story of a man fighting, quite literally for a better future – and above all else desperately ‘fighting’ the system and stereotypes programmed into society in order to become the man he can truly be. Many people will remember the riots and looting of August 2011 in many London Boroughs. You may also remember the reason why this sparked off – a metropolitan police officer shot an unarmed black man Mark Duggan twice for what it seems was no apparent reason. Was this a racial attack? Was this an accident? We will never know. In this just under an hour short film Flemmings pours anger, passion and frustration in his characters exploring how hard it is to come through the other side being a black man after such an event.
The main ammunition for Stally to fall back into his old way’s is his inner turmoil, his pride to always do the right thing and above all else his current environment. This man becomes a push-me-pull-me in effect, pulled by his striving for a better future girlfriend, Mermaid (Phoebe Torrance) and his old friend from the block Chris (Santino Zucchi) who constantly reminds him of who he is and virtually pulls him down to the gutter with him. Yet, we all have a choice, even if we think we don’t. As Stally utters, ‘It’s our strongest weapon’ thoughts of just how true this statement is resonate from the screen.
This is definitely a unique style of filmmaking and Flemmings has certainly made his mark. Beautifully shot in black and white with only a few sporadic scenes in colour brings a retro feel to this very modern tale. Although it seems to pay homage to an era we are sadly falling back into, one that we do not want to repeat under any circumstances. At times it becomes apparent this is an Indie creation with off-beat camera angles that perhaps linger just a little bit longer than they should or focus on something that seems futile but Tarantino didn’t get to where he is today by playing it safe. The raw energy that has clearly gone into this work from crew to cast shines through but some of the dialogue is diluted by over-acting and perhaps one too many profanities. Toning it down just a tad would have given Flemming a moment to truly expand on the silence here. After all, isn’t it our own thoughts that constantly plague us and not necessarily what other people say?
Ultimately, Six Rounds brings an important subject to the forefront. An issue that has sadly been around for far too long, there is no escaping the racism that is flowing through the core of this almost ode to Mark Duggan. This may not be everyone’s bag but perhaps it could enlighten people who seem to think things like this are over in the modern world. If Six Rounds does nothing else for you, it will certainly get you thinking – that’s for sure.