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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
A Brand New Halle Berry
by Betty Jo Tucker

Brava for Halle Berry! Yes, I know she earned an Oscar® in 2004 for her terrific performance in Monster’s Ball, but her courage shows through on screen now by taking on the difficult role of dishonored Mixed Martial Arts fighter Jackie Justice in Bruised, a drama she also chose for her debut as a director. I’ve mentioned earlier how certain actors transform themselves into the characters they play, And Berry now goes on my list which includes stars like Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Michael Caine in Alfie, Frances McDormand as the dedicated pregnant police officer in Fargo, Susan Sarandon as Sister Prejean in Dead Man Walking, Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins as the unconventional prisoners in The Shawshank Redemption.      

Granted, Berry’s performances as secret agent Jinx in Die Another Day and as Storm in X-Men show she can handle action movies. But we know it’s Halle Berry. In contrast, while watching her as Jackie Justice, look as close as you can and you still won’t recognize the Halle Berry we’ve seen before. She has magically become this down-and-out character in need of redemption and love. 

Halle Berry, a sight to see

fighting hard and ferociously.

She lost her first big title shot

by running out – not too hot.

 

Her little son is now with her.

Mom, booze, boyfriend, and manager

throw hurtful punches on her soul.

That sometimes makes her lose control.

 

She wants a chance for a comeback.

Super training is the right track.

“Bruised,” a fit name for this movie. 

But a hard film to watch for me.

That last line does not refer to the movie’s subject matter. Instead, I mean the physicality of seeing. Because the atmosphere of Bruised is dark and somber, the cinematography must emphasize that. Unfortunately, people with eye problems like me have difficulty seeing what’s going on in many scenes. However, everything shows up during the exciting and brutal big fight between Jackie Justice and the terrifying Lady Killer (Valentina Schevchenko) at the end of the film.

Supporting cast members help keep the scenes looking real. Kudos to Danny Boyd Jr. as Justice’s shy little boy, Sheila Atim as her compassionate trainer, Adriane Lenox as her unreliable mom, and Adan Canto as her abusive boyfriend/manager.

Bruised concentrates on events leading up to Jackie’s comeback, but thanks to first-time feature screenwriter Michelle Rosenfarb the emotional and physical struggles of Jackie Justice get most of the attention and hold our interest throughout this dramatic offering.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a pacifist who loves to watch boxing movies no matter the gender doing the fighting. My favorites include Cinderella Man, Raging Bull and Girlfight. While Bruised deals with mixed martial arts fighting instead of boxing, it’s just as appealing to me. Go figure!

(Releases by Netflix and rated “R” by MPAA.)

 

 


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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