a film by Paul Oremland
1998 | 95 mins | UK
›› Like It Is
coming out in the squared circle, bare-knuckle style
Like It Is by Paul Oremland Craig is different from most blokes. Different in the sense that he knows deep down that he's gay, a sexuality that is hardly one to shout about given his chosen career is the squared circle and the illegal dens of bare-knuckle boxing at that too. Not that it was on the underground boxing circuit where he met Matt, rising star of the London music scene and a man who cannot wait to head back to the sophisticated bars of Soho, following a taste of Blackpool rock. Only guess who he should find outside his door a few days later, none other than his Blackpool bit of rough. Namely a man desperate to escape the brutality of his past, one in which the only form of male touch was a punch to your face!

Written by Robert Gray, this powerful British drama notably took a variant approach to the coming out scenario, having chosen to depict the difficulties of being true to thyself within the macho environment of competitive sport and an illegal one at that too. Yet woven in between such lies a good old-fashioned gay love story; namely the tale of two young men who fall in love with each other, inspite of the many problems faced by their opposing lifestyles. It is a work that like the French short Embrasser Les Tigres does not shy away from depicting the reality of gay sex, let alone the violence of those who fight for a living with gloved hands - or as in this case, without.

Like It Is by Paul Oremland And the fact that such staged scenes are to the bloody core is to the credit of former ABA Featherweight Boxing Champion Steve Bell, who in his screen debut delivers both a boxing and acting punch as Craig. Yet whilst the fine work of Dani Behr as a singer with attitude should not be overlooked, the real stars of the show are Ian Rose as Matt and Roger Daltrey of The Who fame, who here excels in his performance of Matts' camp and predatory boss Kelvin; a high-powered music mogul ever keen on young male flesh for both professional and private exploitation.

The result is a film that not surprisingly takes a far more grittier approach to the coming out scenario, one that is far removed from fiction given its central theme of a closeted bare-knuckle boxer is based on a real encounter experienced by the director himself. Rightly acclaimed as one of the most well-crafted British gay dramas in years, this marks a gripping tale of a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality; a vibrant mix of raw sex and violence, love and desire and of finally being able to say it - like it is!
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue
starring: Roger Daltrey, Dani Behr, Ian Rose, Christopher Hargreaves,
Paul Broughton and introducing Steve Bell as Craig
Copyright 2005 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #046
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